Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, we spend a lifetime in recovery because we’re constantly learning new ways to become better. Sometimes we’re going to find ourselves taking a few steps back, however, and this can feel incredibly frustrating. The following quote stated by Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian lyricist and novelist, depicts this lesson of patience quite beautifully:
“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.”
Most of us have heard the common phrase of patience being a virtue – but how do we obtain it? When we’re flooded with rage, or anxiety, or we’re debilitated by depression, how can we practice greater patience with ourselves? Using the same metaphor as Paulo Coelho, it’s hard to simply watch the storm rise rather than trying to do something about it, but by watching the storm, we’re accepting the natural course of human emotion rather than trying to suppress it. This is much, much healthier in the end.
Here are some guidelines to practicing more patience with yourself:
- The next time you feel intensely about something, acknowledge it while also agreeing that you’re okay. Here is an example, “I am upset and I’m also okay”. By acknowledging what feels like polar opposites, you will become much more open to the “grey” areas of life – and that’s where patience thrives.
- Pick a day where you’ll make a conscious effort to practice patience in everything you do. Choose to be mindful and live in the present moment. You’ll notice a sincere difference between the day you practice patience versus the days when you don’t.
- Practice delaying gratification. The next time you want to run towards a not-so-healthy coping mechanism, practice waiting and choosing something else instead.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.