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Word of the Month: Patience    

Word of the Month: Patience

Art by FISK

by Meadowlark Monaghan

At some point in our mental health journeys, impatience will inevitably arise. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

Healing isn’t a linear path. There are peaks and valleys of varying lengths along the way and navigating that path requires us to be patient with ourselves. As an added bonus, as we learn to be more patient with ourselves, we also start to be more patient with others and learn to meet them from a place of understanding and empathy. 

Patience is especially important at this time of year, that’s why it’s the theme for The Local Optimist for January.

While it’s great to have resolutions and goals for 2021, we have to remember that real change doesn’t happen overnight. That can be tricky when we’re inundated with “new year, new you” messages. We can start to think that things aren’t moving fast enough. Don’t believe the hype. Our minds can tell us all sorts of things that aren’t true, and the thought that we’re going too slow can be one of them.

At the start of the year, we can all use a reminder that we are separate from our thoughts. Only by doing so will we be able to objectively see how far we’ve come. 

To help you along the way, we’ll be sharing stories about patience all month long. To get started, here are a couple of tips.

Reframe The Concept

We often talk about being more patient, but that can sound like a daunting task. One challenge is that we don’t tend to notice the times when we are exercising greater patience. But we have an easier time recalling when we are impatient. Therefore, it can be helpful to look at patience as the practice of letting go of impatience. 

It’s a subtle but important shift. Rather than scrambling for what we want, we can simply let go of what we don’t, which naturally leads to more patience. Pulling this off in the age of Instagram is hard because we’re surrounded by others that we can compare ourselves to. Try not to get caught up in that and stay in your own lane instead.

Be Here Now

Impatience isn’t a character trait, a behavior, or an emotion. Impatience is a series of thoughts about the gap between what we think life should be and what life is. 

We can feel a lot of crap, such as anxiety, in that gap. The main reason is that we aren’t aware the gap even exists. So mind the gap. Acknowledging its existence can make us more present, which, in turn, can make us more patient. As Marie Forleo says, try to “make is-ness your business.”

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.