Earlier this week, I wrote about how patience can sometimes be a difficult concept. Patience might be a virtue, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it all the time! However, I know that building patience – with myself and the world around me – has many benefits for long-term growth. And this can be especially true when it comes to managing my anxiety! Here are a few of my tips for building patience when you live with an anxiety disorder, and how you can learn more about creating a healthier attitude towards the idea of patience.
The most important thing to remember about building patience is that it takes time. A big mistake I made was that I thought the process would be quicker, or that I’d find success faster, but learning patience is very similar to building a healthy mindset – it’s lifelong work that ebbs and flows depending on where you are from moment to moment. That being said, there is still plenty of advice to give about learning patience, and how putting these tips into practice is more of a learning process than changing the type of person you are.
Instant Gratification Isn’t Always Better
This first bit of advice sounds a little cliche, but it’s been super helpful as someone who lives with anxiety. This seems like an easy road to a tangent about how we live in a culture of instant gratification with the social media and the FaceTiming (and sounding much older than I actually am), but this point is even more blunt than that.
Sometimes, you just have to wait for things to be ready. Timing is important. Sometimes it’s your time, and sometimes it’s not. Learning when you’re ready for something – and when you aren’t there yet – is a lesson in patience. Living with anxiety means that sometimes, I’m not able to do the things I want. By practicing patience, I can learn how to wait until I am ready, and when I can experience things in a less-anxious state.
This is a bit of advice I wish I’d taken years ago. When I made it a goal to learn patience, I created vague goals about being “patient with myself” and “being patient about my anxiety,” but I couldn’t define what that meant. The result was that I didn’t really feel like I was working toward anything, and I couldn’t even tell if I’d made progress. Even though patience can be a vague concept, there are realistic and pragmatic ways to put it into practice. Think of things like finding your triggers, being aware when you’re becoming impatient, and finding solutions to instances of impatience. This is a hard concept for me sometimes, but the realistic approach is the best one when it comes to learning patience.
Acknowledging Failure and Being Afraid to Slip Up
Anxiety can create a perfectionist mindset, and that combination is not only unrealistic for a person, but it creates a never-ending cycle of trying to achieve the impossible. My anxiety tells me that I can’t make mistakes – but patience requires those slip-ups.
A while back, I learned that being kind to myself will be a lifelong journey. Patience with myself will be a lifelong journey. Even though I’ll fail often, I can keep going back and trying again. In doing so, I’ve learned that the more patience I maintain, the kinder I tend to be to myself. The progress isn’t always steady, but it’s there. And the I might not always improve the more I work at it, but I get more familiar with the feeling, and those benefits can help me handle anxiety in a healthier way. It’s not much, but it’s a start.