Growing up, I’m from a generation where everything was instantly there. The “age of instant gratification”, where technology could give me anything I ever needed when I needed it right then and there.
My mom always laughed and told me that growing up, I had the patience of a nat. Sure, I would laugh and joke with her, thinking it was hilarious. But, growing up, more often I noticed that my lack of patience was almost toxic for my mental health—and, toxic for my relationships, professionally, platonically, and romantically.
I first noticed that “patience” was a problem for me when I graduated college. I wanted to hit the ground running immediately and start working on my career, not wrapping my head around the fact that I had worked my behind off for four years to graduate with honors, I was allotted some time to relax.
With my friendships, I often felt like if someone didn’t answer right away, or return calls in a small amount of time, I’d feel like they were dodging me or icing me out.
The whole “lack of patience” issues that I faced only manifested further throughout my life. I would get anxious when I didn’t hear back from a friend I had texted, I’d become paranoid if my relationships didn’t move quickly enough, I even got stir crazy if I didn’t hear back after an interview in a small window of time.
This kind of toxic mentality not only hurts people around me and can sabotage great things for me, but it also hurts me mentally. I begin to have negative self-talk and often times, dig myself into a bad headspace.
While it could very well be due to the generation I was born into, where we could Google anything and have it pop up almost immediately, it could also be something within myself, as well.
Sometimes, it’s hard to make big changes in your life that you notice because in the moment, it’s as though you’re wearing horse-blinders.
While I know from the outside looking in that my patience is a huge issue, in the moments of time where I am anxious, overwhelmed, or paranoid due to things not happening right away, I can’t always see that it’s in my head and not reality.
Making big changes in our lives can take time, but above all, they take effort. It’s hard to sit down with yourself and know that in many situations, you are the big problem that is taking up space in the room.
I’m working on being more “patience” with everyone in my life. With job interviews, with my relationships, my friendships, my families, but above all, with myself.
I don’t need to speed through life as fast as my phone loads a website. I don’t have to get to the finish line in record time. It’s okay for me to stop and smell the flowers along the way.
No changes are easily made and things don’t always happen overnight. Working on my patience is something that’s a work-in-progress. But, above all, I have to have patience with myself. Knowing that I need to be more kind to myself and to the universe, allowing things to happen when they should, is something I know and can admit.
But, to see the results and how they can be brought to light? Well, I’ll have to have some patience for that, too.
Lex Gabrielle is a lifestyle writer who believes in messy buns and 3+ cups of coffee a day. When she’s not writing, she teaches high school English, journalism, and creative writing. You can see more of her work at www.lexgabrielle.com.