I am sure that like me you often hear people tell you to be patient with someone else. Well, they are simply asking you to bear with the other person, to ignore or overlook the other person’s wrong doings. They are asking that you accommodate the other person’s excesses; to suppress your annoyance or disapproval of the other person, and so on.
I wonder though, how many times has anyone told you to be patient with yourself? I rarely get that from anyone.
Well, like the other person, I think it is just as important that you are patient with yourself.
Patience is needed when things do not appear as we expect them to. Patience is needed when things do not go our way. I find that we also expect certain things from ourselves. For example, when we make plans or set goals for ourselves. We have expectations for ourselves; so what happens when we do not meet these expectations? Do we go hard on ourselves? No, right?
To be patient with one’s self is to recognize that we are not perfect; to accept ourselves just the way we are. We can even go as far as making excuses for our lapses or mistakes but knowing that we are not perfect and that mistakes are part of us would make a difference.
Few weeks ago, a new team member resumed work at my department to work directly under me. From my perception, he is ambitious and determined to grow in his career. While I liked the fact that he was efficient, I sometimes worried that his work lacked quality.
As his line manager, I have had to question his work ethics and recommended that he is more attentive to the details.
One day, I assigned Michael a task. He was to complete in three days. It was a new task so I guided him on what to do. A few times I noticed that Michael would snap at his colleagues when they want to be friendly with him; I also saw him perspire a lot while working on the task. But he never asked me any questions as he worked on the task.
On the third day, I asked for his report on the task and he spoke angrily that he was yet to complete it. I noticed though that his anger was not at me but at himself. He was disappointed.
To help Michael, I decided to take him out of the office to a more relaxing arena. When we settled down, I started to ask him some questions. It turned out that Michael always regarded himself as a perfectionist. He gave no room for mistakes. He specifically mentioned that he hardly makes mistakes. how is that possible? I wonder!
Well I did my best to talk to him and make him that it was okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
I think that we do not have to get things right at their first attempts all the time. More importantly, we learn from our mistakes. Realizing that the lessons we learn from our mistakes can make us better, makes it easier to be patient with ourselves.