How to be patient with yourself
When I learned to crochet, I was six years old and my stubby little fingers just didn’t know what to do. So, I abandoned the actual crochet hook and tied the yarn around my big toe and manipulated it with my hands to crochet a long chain.
It was great practice for learning a chain stitch, but not much use for making anything useful. I pretended the long strands of chain stitch were beautiful necklaces. Some long chains were used to tie things together.
Over all, the results had pretty limited potential, so it wasn’t long before I graduated to using a crochet hook. My mom, who taught me, started me with a teeny steel hook and thread. Oh boy – was that a challenge! Talk about five thumbs!
I remember being so frustrated! Not only was I challenged with the size of the tools and materials but also had to learn the makeup of the actual stitches. And reading the patterns – whew! That was a quagmire!
It would have been so easy (and, honestly, expected at my young age) to chuck it aside and go outside to play. It certainly would have been a lot less frustrating. But I stuck it out. It took years to learn and many years of practicing to reach the skill level I’ve attained.
But when I look back, I know that my struggle taught me much more than how to read a pattern or how to choose the right yarn for a project. That experience taught me patience – with myself.
Here’s what I learned:
Give yourself enough time. When you learn to be patient with yourself, you give yourself permission to grow. You allow yourself to make mistakes and stretch in new directions. As M. Scott Peck said in The Road Less Traveled, “I can learn anything if I give myself enough time.”
Give yourself permission. We expect so much from ourselves. When we are approaching something new, especially when we want to make a change in our lives, it is so easy to slip into judging yourself because you don’t already have the answers.
Take your first day at a new job. I named it “Stupid Day” because that’s exactly how you feel. You may have been hired for a specific skill set and are very competent, but first day on the job, you know nothing. Heck, you don’t even know how to find the bathroom!
Permission to have a “Stupid Day” takes away the judgement that you need to be perfect all the time. You have permission to learn on your own time.
Choose your response. A tangle of thread can enrage or challenge. You get to choose. Your power is in the empty space between the action and your reaction.
We are all on this planet at this moment to learn to be with one another. We are all growing. When you cultivate the skill of patience, it allows everyone to grow at their own rate.
I’d love to hear where has patience served you – please comment below.