The ‘P’ Word

Patience. Ugh, I used to hate that word, still do sometimes, but I’ve gotten better about it. It used to be like hearing nails on a chalkboard when someone would say “be patient,” I’d want to smack them. It seemed that I had spent my whole life being patient for one thing or another, but what I had really been doing is trying to force my will on all of the people, places and things in my life. Nothing patient about that, that took a lot of energy, and typically a very aggravating result, things quite often didn’t go the way I would have had them go.

Patience is hard, especially when you feel that you’ve lived your life as an unauthentic version of you, if you feel like you’ve never had a voice, or mattered. For me, that was the root of the problem, finding value in myself, and learning that yes, it was OK to have goals, hopes and dreams, yes, that is encouraged, but what my job was was to do the footwork, the steps that I could take to take me closer to where or what I want, and then let it go. Yeah, I said let it go! Sounds scary right? It did for me at first, I was so used to keeping everything so tightly wound that the thought of stepping back seemed like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, it didn’t feel safe. What was pointed out to me is that I only had the illusion of feeling safe because that’s what I had become accustomed to doing, trying to force a favorable outcome for myself. Growing up I felt like my world was unstable, unpredictable and unsure, so as a defense for that I started to control every aspect of my life that I could, and even try to control what I couldn’t control, which always added to my frustration, but not trying to control everything seemed too scary.  I continued to do that well into my adulthood because that was what I knew, and thought was working for me, but it wasn’t, it just brought me more pain, heartache and disappointment, but it also gave me validation when things didn’t go my way that I didn’t deserve good things because I wasn’t a good person, a self fulfilling prophecy. As I set out on my journey of self-love and acceptance I was better able to “take my hands off the wheel” as it where and let things happen as they would. I also now have a stronger connection spiritually than I did before, which has helped me to step back and let things unfold. Also after finding forgiveness in myself I was better able to find compassion in others, even people I never thought I could, because I could see how they also struggled with certain things, maybe some of the same things I did, so finding compassion in others also helped me to find patience when it came to certain people in my life.

There are a lot of layers to all of this, and we’ll get to them as we go, but hopefully the door to patience will open just a crack.

I now look at patience as a huge victory for me, and I look at it as something that takes the load solely off my shoulders, I look at it as a positive thing, I can do the work and then move on to something else and let it unfold as it will, if more work needs to be done I can get back to it and then let it go again. This alleviates so much stress and exhaustion in my day, and frees me up to concentrate on other positive things.

Patience, not a swear word anymore.

SLAY OF THE DAY: What in your life tests your patience? Why are you not able to let go? What do you think will happen if you do? Is there someone in your life who tests your patience? Why? Is it possible that what bothers you about them is something you don’t like about yourself? Be honest. How are you doing with your own forgiveness? What, if anything, is holding you back? Love yourself today SLAYER, we all do.

S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you

11 thoughts on “The ‘P’ Word

  1. A HUGE part of my pain stems from the exact feelings you mention: feeling as if I don’t matter, unvalidated, unstable…

    My mom passed away when I was 7 and my father remarried when I was 9 to an incredibly abusive woman. He never believed me when I told him what she was doing to me, even when I showed him a HANDPRINT on my face. She never did it in front of him and whenever he asked her, she would say no, so that was good enough for him.

    Child protective services and the cops were frequent flyers at our home (which varied since she refused to work so we got thrown out of every house we ever lived in and at times lived in motels) – her father was the lieutenant of the police department so every report was never filed.

    So much of the way I feel about myself stems from the fact that I never felt important enough to be protected, that my father’s incessant fear of being without a bedmate outweighed his need to protect me. My feelings didn’t matter.

    This continued well into high school – and I clung to everyone who gave me attention. I got pregnant with my oldest son and gave birth when I was 17.

    Many of my relationships were very unhealthy because of my need to gain approval from everyone and put their happiness before my own. I always had anxiety because my actions were always incongruous to my thoughts and feelings.

    I still do have depression and anxiety but I am on the road to living authentically and getting support from amazing people. I learned to get rid of the toxic people in my life and recognize that I don’t have to mold myself in others’ images/perceptions.

    I felt compelled to write this because, it’s so important for people to know they’re not alone in their feelings and you really REALLY hit the nail on the head with this post. I’m still in regular therapy from all of this (in addition to marriage shit that in a large part is caused by me not being myself and letting people’s feelings dictate how I live).

    This post was a tremendous help to me. I’m so sorry that you know these feelings. I really am. But there is so much good coming from what you are doing. You are building community and strength in us who didn’t believe we had it.

    Thank you so so much, Carrie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eldwenne you are right, you’re not alone, none of us are.

      We are bound by our common experiences, and together we can help each other walk through anything.

      Thank you for sharing your story with us this morning, I’m sure it will touch everyone who reads it as much as it has touched me.

      SLAY on!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patience, when I was growing up, was weaponized, in my house. My father would dangle special trips, new toys, seeing distant family members etc., in front of us, and get us all excited, tell us “It’s coming!! It’s almost here!” and… nothing. When we’d ask about the special-thing-to-be, he’d get this kind of thin grin, bend down in our faces, and whisper, “Patience.”
    If we were upset, or cried foul, he’d hurt us. “If you continue to question me, it means you don’t trust me. If you don’t trust me, it means you think I’m a liar. If you think I’m a liar, you don’t respect me. I will have respect, in my house!” This was followed by the immediate loss of the thing-to-be, physical punishments, loss of affection/attention, loss of ‘food privileges’, and, as we were older, loss of ‘communication privileges’. We were not allowed to speak, write, or give eye contact, to anyone, at all. Sometimes, for more than a week. (It took me years to realize, there was never a thing-to-be, to begin with.)

    So, as you can imagine, I had steered away from, if not the concept, then definitely the word itself. I’m an adult. I’m a mother of an adult son, and a grandmother to an adorable girl who’ll be two, next month. I’ve had years of therapy, medication, meditation, and the cushion of my father’s death. Even so, when I heard the word, it did some interesting things. Until recently.

    I decided I would change the meaning of patience, to ‘creating peace in the space between’. I started small. Very small. I bought a bag of grapes, and ate three a day. I recorded a new episode of my favorite show, and waited a day to watch it. I waited to call my sister, until I had ten new things to tell her. Every time I made myself wait, I would hug me, or stand in a mirror and tell me I was proud, or read a list my friends made, of how awesome they think I am. There’s over 100 things on that list. It’s pretty great. I, highly, recommend getting one, yourself.

    After about 6 months of practice, I began to enjoy patience. Then, it hit me. I’d been blaming myself for ‘disappointing’ my father, all along. After all the years of therapy, and fighting with myself, and medication, and… all of it, turns out, that bastard was still in my head. Loving myself, being kind to myself, somehow shined a light in a hidden place, in my mind, and I was, finally, able to dig his poison out.

    I’m not saying I’m totally healed, and life is a perfect string of sunny days, and Disney movies are my reality, but I’m better. Better is pretty damn good, from my perspective.

    Thanks, Carrie, for your post. Patience really is a gift, and if done right, can make our struggle a little easier to bear.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you mimicreature for this, I hope that other readers will take away as much from it as I did.

      Love the concept of ‘creating space in the space between,’ have never thought of it that way, but that is what I have been doing over the years, to teach myself patience, and to continue to practice it. I encourage everyone to try out this method if you’re struggling with patience, or resisting the word.

      Life isn’t a “Disney movie” for anyone, even the people in them, life happens on it’s own terms, it’s how we choose to react, or not react to it that makes us who we are, and can give us peace of mind and find some light on a darkened path.

      My hope for this blog is not to heal people, I alone can’t do that, the work has to come from each person themselves, and, I don’t believe we are ever really healed from anything, we can’t erase the past, but we find a way to move on, to rise above, and to find strength, so hopefully SLAYERS you are finding some strength in these words and trusting that the struggle can get easier, and will if you do the work.

      Much love to you today mimicreature, thank you for sharing your beautiful soul with all of us.

      SLAY on!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Patience, something that was left out of my DNA. My mom will tell you I was the kid that had to have whatever I was working on done “right now!” Over the years I’ve come to realize that it was out of fear of failure guiding my desire rather a bratty kid. I certainly wasn’t raised a brat.

    My Dad was in the MI of the Army, then a patrolman, detective and finally finished his career with ATF close to 30 yrs. That left Mom to raise us as he was out finding the criminals (who don’t ask permission first before they blow things up). I had a fear of authority, I think because of Dad’s position and the way he carried himself. I never wanted to make him mad. Still don’t. And yet I’ve grown up enough I don’t seek his permission either. But my fear of failure relates directly a lack of patience because I want whatever it is/was done and perfect whether it was schoolwork, undergrad, grad papers, finding a cure/working meds so I can function in the real world, a working program that keeps my kids stable with all their mental health needs, etc.

    It’s overwhelming and I feel like the serpent is eating it’s own tail on this one. Patience /Fear of failure/still have authority issues (deep dark night of the soul here – but now I lash out too)

    Your question on forgiveness. I’m sorry, too painful and I can talk about it publicly. I hope you understand.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. But you are talking about it Michelle, and thank you for that.

      We are only as sick as our secrets, those things we think we can’t share for fear of judgement, retaliation, or isolation, by opening up today I feel a connection to you, and I’m sure others who will read your comments will as well, but it’s a process, one that you’ll opened the door to by reaching out today.

      We are not our past, and we are not what happened to us, we now have the chance to break the cycle and move forward.

      I hope you will continue to SLAY with us here and share your thoughts on your journey.

      We all have a commonalty here, and there is strength in that.

      SLAY on.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “We are only as sick as our secrets” – ABSOLUTELY. Like you said, we’re never really healed, but by talking about these things, they’re no longer secrets, and we start the process of moving past the past – VERY powerful words.

        And Michelle – I can completely relate to the feelings of being afraid of upsetting people 24/7. I used to feel like I was walking on eggshells every time I was around other people.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I will definitely keep sharing. My heart break for the abuse survivors, but survivors they are. My small family of 4 has been in therapy since Katie, my eldest was showing signs of autism, severe anxiety disorder and sensory processing disorder and I finally got help at the age of 6. The therapy with the psychologist was for her, but I got 15 min carved out for me.

    I became her ot/pt/home therapist because in Missouri our insurance didn’t pay. We paid out of pocket for everything – psychologist and psychiatrist and testing and just enough therapy to teach me what to do with a 6yr old. Patience I had none. I tried to start homeschooling her and therapy (no help from the state) plus my own health was deteriorating. More migraines and a 2 yr old boy (Jami) to take care of.

    It turned out I had a blessing, my husband, Wm, has Aspergers, though never diagnosed in the 70s. Things started falling into place, our fights, lack of communication, his misunderstandings, quirkiness plus with special gifts most people don’t have.his blessing to me was to be able to give me a glimpse into Katie’s mind. Why she was reacting why she did.

    It still didn’t help my patience or desire to speed up the process, but finally to have someone to understand. I didn’t feel alone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s always interesting how life unfolds, nothing is by mistake. What may have been frustrating, or misunderstood has turned into insight for you.

      For myself I try to remember those examples in my life where that has happened, and it helps me to find patience in the process of life, to know that there is a reason for everything, even the suffering, because I will undoubtedly need that information or experience later on to help me navigate through rough waters, or to make better choices.

      I find our journey really inspiring Michelle, and even though there are a lot of challenging aspects and daily struggles to it, I see light, for all of you, and that light has started with you.

      Like with myself, you have broken the cycle, and there is so much power in that, harness that from within on days when the struggle gets hard. You don’t feel alone, because you are not alone, you have the strength of the family you have created for yourself, and all of us here.

      Shine bright.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Bless you Carrie and Eldwenne. As you both know. There are so much more to our stories. As Wm and I have been talking, you habe to crawl before you can walk.

    Wm was an actor and works in tech theater. His favorite quote is something from Mark Twain and I never get it right… do not get angry with the young man for he is only trying on different faces trying to find the one that fits.

    He lost his dad to Brain cancer at 18, one week before graduation, but really several years before. He struggles like we do. And at 51 trying to find his authentic self is proving stressful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I spent a large part of my life trying on different faces, usually the one I thought you’d like, until I realized that if I didn’t start taking them off I was going to die.

      My journey has taught me that I don’t need to wear a mask, my power is within me, and when I share myself, authentically, and my truth, I don’t need to hide behind anything.

      Everyone’s journey is different, but we can light the way for those who are scared by walking before them and showing them it’s safe, even if they crawl behind us until they can walk.

      Liked by 1 person

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