As an obstetrician, whether I like it or not I have to be patient. Pregnancy takes time to allow a baby to develop enough to survive the outside world. Although many pregnant women including myself grew weary of being pregnant, few if any of us would want to trade places with a woman whose pregnancy lasted only long enough for her to deliver a premature baby who did not survive or a baby that had to remain weeks or even months in the hospital. Labor takes time for a woman to deliver. Yes, we sometimes have to intervene for the sake of the mother or the baby, but sometimes intervening too early can lead to procedures that may have otherwise been avoided. Interestingly enough although I chose a profession that requires patience, I do not consider myself a patient person except when I exercise my profession. But what I realize in just the same way we needed time to develop as babies in the womb, we need time to develop into our best selves and that certainly requires patience.
I was sitting at a dinner event with a lovely lady recently and she had a goal to loose 30 lbs. We discussed the steps she was taking and she was indeed doing all the right things but she lamented that she had not lost any weight. When we spoke further she revealed that she started the process only two weeks ago but she wanted to loose the weight instantly. I reminded her that she didn’t gain the weight instantly and encouraged and reassured her that if she stuck to it she will see the results.
I want to offer you the same encouragement in each and every aspect of your journey to be your best self. If you reflect on your life, chances are you will recognize that your successes were not overnight. If you are a professional, it often required years of schooling. If you are a business owner it likely required countless hours to allow your business to grow. Unfortunately sometimes we fail to apply the same lessons of patience, time and effort to our personal life in the same way we do to our professional life. If your goal is weight loss, adjust your food choices and eating habits, increase your exercise but give it time. The vast majority of people who loose weight quickly by fad diet regain it in short order. If your goal is learning a new language, that also requires time, effort, commitment and patience. If your goal is to improve your ability to meditate to reduce stress, it takes practice and hence time; the list goes on and on.
My own personal journey of patience was perhaps most tested in the time it took for me to meet the man who is now my husband. I had never hoped or expected to be married in my early twenties but as I approached my mid thirties without a prospect in site, I became anxious and frustrated. To say that I was kicking and screaming may not be an understatement. Although I did not appreciate some of the benefits at the time I can now look back with gratitude; gratitude that I had time to establish myself in my career; gratitude that I had time to better understand the woman I am and the type of person who would suit me best; gratitude that I had time to cultivate friendships, which with the business of family life I have now I would never had established; gratitude that I had time to travel to many different countries; gratitude that I had time to discover hobbies I enjoy. My main regret about that time was not that it took so long to meet the right man but that I lacked the patience to fully enjoy the process.
So whether you are blessed with patience or are reluctantly forced to be patient, the category in which I sometimes feel I belong; patience is an invaluable virtue in your journey to becoming the best you. It does not mean inactivity. It does not mean lack of persistence. It does not mean giving up on your dreams. But it involves the recognition that if you stick to what you need to do and apply your best efforts the results may likely take longer than you wish.
But I do believe that if you stick to it, it will come!