Let’s be honest, we give all of our patience to our children. Every single day (or hour, or minute, or second) we’re giving our children our patience, our grace, and sometimes it feels like we give them our very bone marrow. Amiright? There isn’t always enough to go around for them – so what’s left for us moms? How can you find grace and patience with yourself?
I did not have patience AT ALL until I had my first child. Having my first child helped me develop an enormous amount patience (I know it definitely honed my ability to locate lost items…).
Is there some virtual reality when you have children that suddenly gifts you with patience? And the more wacky things your children do to test your patience, the more your patience grows! It’s shocking, really. If somebody could bottle that… Yes, the amount of patience that I have been able to show my children has, frankly, blown me away. It’s not close to perfect mind you – but a huge improvement over my pre-child self? You bet!
But 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 need to have patience and grace with myself every day as I tiptoe through this minefield of mothering.
And that’s just to sustain my ability to mother. What about me and my own aspirations? I need patience with myself to stay motivated to reach my goals. So I’ve figured out how to reign in this patience that I have with my children so that I can also be patient with myself!!! 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 think is a failure and I can’t seem to muster any grace or patience for myself. And the way I talk to myself 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?
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 we would. 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.
Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to be imperfect. In the same way that you expect imperfection from your child, you should expect it 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!