Self-care is a vital tool for creating growth personally and professionally. Many of us think of bubble baths and journaling when it comes to self-care. However, one essential quality not discussed, especially when building new and sometimes difficult routines that can benefit your mind, body, and soul, is practicing grace and patience. Easing up on yourself is a crucial quality we all should cultivate daily to ensure you continue to expand toward who you are becoming.
Maybe your laundry has been piling up for weeks. Perhaps you didn’t wake up at the time you planned to. Maybe you said something to someone you wish you hadn’t. Or perhaps you haven’t had time to go to the gym like you used to. Whatever it may be, these are experiences we sometimes can’t avoid because of life’s demands and circumstances. Yet, even though these experiences can feel frustrating, they can be powerful opportunities to learn and grow. And to teach us that developing patience and grace is a part of our personal development process. Once we cultivate patience, they can be powerful tools to allow ourselves to grow through what we may be going through instead of beating ourselves up inside.
Most of us are so hard on ourselves that when we make a mistake, we make it that much harder on ourselves, and we often create more prolonged periods of dissatisfaction that may not be required. When we miss the mark or feel like we could have made a better decision, many of us resort to negative self-talk about ourselves or feel terrible. We must learn how to give ourselves grace and permit ourselves to forgive our mistakes and lapses in judgment.
Let’s be honest. No one is perfect. We can try as much as we want, but mistakes will come whether we like them or not. This is all a part of the journey. But the journey becomes easier when you realize that developing grace and patience with yourself is a necessary quality that should be practiced and cultivated regularly.
One of the most significant components of developing more patience with yourself is to disrupt the unconscious story you tell yourself when you feel down or feel like you missed the mark. So many times, our minds tend to automatically resort to a running list of negative self-talk such as, “maybe I don’t have what it takes,” “I should have known not to do that,” or “maybe something is wrong with me.” And as most of us know, our minds tend never to stop once we start this self-destructive thought loop. As a result, throughout the day, we almost remain totally unconscious of the continuous negative self-talk that influences all future behaviors even after the event has already happened.
When these negative thought loops begin to arise, recognize them, and disrupt the story you are telling yourself. When you can identify the unconscious story you are telling yourself, you can clearly see the situation for what it is, not as we perceive them to be. As humans, we can easily catastrophize, making situations larger than they need to be.
The next time you face yourself feeling down on yourself, you could say, “sure, this feeling may hurt, but I know what I am learning and growing, and this is all a part of the process.” You can say to yourself, “this feeling may be uncomfortable, but I can tolerate it, and I know that my flaws and inadequacies are something I can work on.” Of course, we are not aiming to perfect here; the purpose of this practice is to ensure we find patience within ourselves and see the misstep for what it really is and not who we are.
The goal here is aiming to become more comfortable with growth. In other words, you like who you are becoming despite the flaws, missteps, and negative feelings that may arise.