This morning I spent an hour trying to talk everyone off of whatever crisis ledge they landed on when they woke up. I wanted to get out so we could go to one of our favorite parks. I know, if they could have, in the moment my boys would have said, “Mom, be patient with me.” But – an hour? I’m not getting that hour back anytime soon.
By the time everyone was ready to leave, I felt like an empty bag of IV fluids limply hanging from a hospital hook. Completely drained.
Honestly, I wanted to scream,”Screw you all! You’ve sucked all of the life out of me and now I don’t even want to go anywhere. Are you happy now?” But, impulse control.
We give whatever patience we have to our children. And we give them grace, understanding and empathy. We give because we love them. Because they deserve it. Because we are modeling how to be the people we want them to grow up to be. Quite simply, we give them these things because they are worthy of our patience and grace for no other reason than because they are human.
And, yet, with ourselves, we are demanding perfection but offering very little grace.
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Once I figured out how I could graciously (ok, mostly graciously) offer so much patience to my boys, I figured out how to be patient with me. And I realized that I, too, am worthy of my own patience and grace.
I did not have patience at all until I had my first child.
Is there some cosmic patience fairy that suddenly gifts you with patience when you have children? If somebody could bottle that…
So here’s the rub… I give all my grace and patience to my children and there’s nothing left for me. And after mothering all day, I need to have patience with myself.
I need patience to talk myself off the “you’ve accidentally (or, God forbid, on purpose) done something to damage these tiny beautiful souls today” ledge. (It’s a real place, I’ve been there…)
I deserve, want, and need to have patience and grace with myself every day as I tiptoe through this minefield of mothering.
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And that’s just to sustain my ability to care for others. What about me and my own aspirations? I need to be patient with me to stay motivated to reach my goals.
I’ve figured out how to capture this patience with my children so that I can also be patient with me!!! It’s simple, but not always easy.
What Causes You To Loose Patience With Yourself?
First, you need to have an idea of the things that cause you to loose patience with yourself. For me, I’m a perfectionist – the not good kind. When I feel as if I’ve failed at something, I’m quick to throw in the towel. I react to what I see as failure and I can’t seem to muster any grace or patience for myself. And the voice in my head isn’t kind.
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So what are your personal triggers that make you lose patience with yourself? And once you know one of your triggers has been tripped, can you feel yourself giving up or loosing patience with yourself and your efforts to reach your goals? Know what triggers you to lose patience and know what it feels like as you begin losing patience with yourself.
Knowing your triggers helps with the next step. So what’s next?
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Catch Yourself Before You Loose Patience With Yourself
Catch yourself. This one is really hard for me… I don’t always pay attention to all of the little things that build up and cause me to blow up.
Can you feel yourself beginning to be impatient? Honestly, it never just “blows up.” It’s been growing…fueled by lots of tiny (or not so tiny) things throughout your day that caused you to become less and less patient.
Take a deep breath. Try to keep yourself from going into fight, flight, or freeze mode.
Save Some Grace & Patience For Yourself
So here it is. We know that we have more patience for our children than we ever imagined possible. The hour I spent this morning is testament to that.
So, what if you could imagine that your child did whatever it is that caused you to loose patience with yourself?
What would you say to your child? How would you show your child patience and grace?
Whenever we get that angry or impatient feeling towards ourselves that causes us to loose it – the patience and grace shown to a child can be the most calming, soothing and forgiving message that we can give to ourselves. And the one that’s most needed.
Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to be imperfect.
In the same way that you expect imperfection from your child, you should expect imperfection from yourself. You’re human too.
How would you respond if your child messed something up? I bet you would say something like “It’s ok honey, things sometimes spill. We can clean it up.”
But what if you mess something up? You likely say things to yourself that you would never say to your child. So, just for a few minutes, in the heat of the moment, pretend that you are speaking to your child instead of to yourself. Let yourself see how nurturing that feels!
You are worthy of your own patience and grace.
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