Posted by: susanideus | February 14, 2010


“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” ~Barbara Johnson

I’m trying, really I am. Just ask my daughter Becca–I’m no doubt very trying to her today! This blog thing can be complicated and I’m not very techie. Not really putting myself down, it’s just a fact. Still, I do what I can before I e-mail or reach for the phone.

But, about this idea of putting oneself down…it’s bad! I do way too much of it. “Why can’t you figure that out, dummy?”  “You should know how to do that by now.”  You know what? I KNOW I’m not a dumb person. I am well-educated, relatively well-read, moderately accomplished and a fair writer. So, why do I talk like this to myself? Why does anyone? Just last weekend, I heard it called stinkin’ thinkin’. That’s pretty accurate.

I used to think it was a female thing, and to a large extent, it may be. I do, however, know some pretty fantastic guys whom I’ve caught muttering the same kind of things under their breath. Maybe it’s a perfectionist thing or a competition thing.

Even more than technical issues, I get down on myself for my relationships (Don’t complain so when her burden is worse than yours–that’s selfish. You shouldn’t keep nagging. You should have listened to her/him when she/he needed you. Why can’t you be a better daughter, wife, mother sister,etc?) Do you have problems with that one?

Then there are the body issues. I probably don’t even need to enumerate all those image issues, right? Few are ever satisfied with the way we look. A friend recommended a book: When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies in which the authors, Jane Hirschmann and Carol Munten call this negative talk “Bad Body Fever”. Looks like it will be interesting. I’ll let you know.

My point is really not to discuss my issues right now, but to pose a question: WHY can’t we be as patient with ourselves as we are with one another? Patience, they say, is learned. Maybe I’m not practicing enough. Maybe, like so many things we say or do, it’s a conscious choice.

There is an English proverb that goes like this: “Patience is a flower that does not grow in everyone’s garden.”  Can we not plant the seed and cultivate it?



  1. When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies helped me immensely (although a friend, hearing the title, said, “Oh. Fiction.”) Reading it sparked a change in my way of thinking and acting. I hope you like it.

    • I appreciate knowing that it helped you. My friend who suggested it said the same thing. It’s definitely something I need to work on.

  2. I like the idea of cultivating a seed of patience in my garden. The simple answer to your question is: Yes.

    • I believe that, too, but I also believe it will take work, consistency and practice (tending the seed) to overcome a lifetime of really bad habits.

  3. Congratulations on your blog, Susan. There are some key words that stand out to me in your question: practice, conscious choice – and the kernel: patience with ourselves as with others.

    I think you’re right that we have to make a conscious choice – and then reinforce it through practice, through setting an intention, by creating reminders for ourselves in lots of different ways – and by loving ourselves.

    It’s easy to be patient with others because we respect/value them. Do we respect and value ourselves as much as we do others? Or is that thought to be selfish? How do we gain self-respect? Is it based on outer things? Or does it come from our internal landscape, a sense of Self? Well, I could go on and on — but changing habit patterns in the body is my field, so I kinda get into it (I’ll be blogging starting in March on this topic.) The way we change locked in habit patterns in our bodies works to change other habit patterns as well. I agree with you, that it takes practice – and definitely conscious choice – and we CAN do it!
    cyber hugs,

  4. Whether it’s a matter of gaining patience, stopping with the personal put downs or forgiving the inner perfectionist, recognizing the negative results of this is the first step. Stay positive. And as for the technology, you’re making progress. Revel in that!

  5. Mary, I am so looking forward to your blog. It’s almost March…how’s it coming along? I love this statement: “The way we change locked in habit patterns in our bodies works to change other habit patterns as well.” I hope this is something we can see discussed on your blog. I’ve wrestled with lack of self-respect all my life and am feeling like I’m up against a big battle to change the resulting bad habits at this point.

  6. Kendra, I see you said to stay positive which I did not in that reply to Mary. I’m finding change difficult for some reaason and I expect I need to look at that. You’re right about the technical stuff. That kept me pumped all weekend.

  7. Yes, this kind of thing will definitely make up a big part of my blog.

    Sometimes the simplest things can be the most profound. Just noticing when we are being negative is a simple step. Noticing how often, or when it happens, whether certain things trigger it, whatever. Just notice. And then maybe at some point you can add thinking a positive thing when you notice the negative. Just to explore, without expectation.

    When we accept ourselves as we are, here and now, we create the basis for making change. Self-acceptance and self-love are two powerful healers and agents of transformation.

    More to come on the blog, in March.

  8. That should be doable, Mary. Thinking something positive when I notice the negative. I really do know I have some good qualities. 🙂 Thanks for the good suggestions.

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