Nov 8 2022
200. Courage, Yes. But Also, Patience.
Everyone wants to get better right now. I totally get that. Of course we’re going to want to rid ourselves of this scourge as quickly as possible. Human nature is what it is. This is not a crime. You’re allowed to want a better life. We talk about courage all the time in this thing. It’s a vital part of the process, especially in the beginning of the journey. You need the most courage at the start, when you have to first face your fear and get that ball rolling in the right direction. That stinks, but that’s how this works. Patience is another thing that we really need in the recovery process, but we often don’t talk about it enough. If courage gets the ball rolling, then patience keeps it rolling. We need courage the most at the start of the process. We need patience most when we get into the dog days of recovery in the middle of the process and toward the end. Unfortunately, this is kinda ass backwards with respect to how humans generally work. We’re most willing to be courageous when we have “proof” that things will be OK. We’re most willing to be patient before we actually understand how much patience will be required of us. It’s really quite annoying when you look at it this way.If you have been courageous and you’ve gotten that ball rolling forward, well done! If you’re doing things that you used to avoid, making your world larger again, and breaking free little by little from the chains anxiety placed around your ankles, that is amazing. You got the first part of this equation nailed and you’re on your way. Do not lose sight of the what you’re doing and what you’re accomplishing. I know you’re not necessarily feeling great yet, but that isn’t the immediate goal. You’re changing what you have to change now so you’ll feel better later. That’s the name of this game.At some point you are going to be confronted with another symptom, or another scary thought, or another challenge that you think should not be a challenge. This is when it might feel like you’re working like a dog but getting nowhere. You’ll be tempted to throw your hands up and declare that you’re starting over because you’re frustrated and maybe a little angry and discouraged. This is where courage alone is not enough. When you hit this point, you are now entering the patience zone. Nobody wants to be in the patience zone, but we all travel through it to get to where we want to go.Stop. Take a few breaths. Make a little space between your emotional reaction and the next thing you do. It’s OK to get frustrated and annoyed. You can’t really stop that from happening because you are human and you REALLY want to get better. Just don’t grab onto that feeling and let it drag you up and down the block. Be nice to yourself. Feeling things and thinking things is NOT going backward. The direction of travel is defined by what you do, not by what you think and feel. This is a crucial concept, but if you are impatient, you will often gloss over that and fall in the “setback” trap.When you want to rant about how this isn’t working, and you want to totally throw away all the progress you’ve clearly made, remember that patience is also part of the recovery puzzle. It’s not easy, but you have to find a way to be nice to yourself, which means being patient with yourself. How long will this take? As long as it takes. Nobody knows. But I can tell you that if you are going to reject the idea that you must be patient, it will likely take longer than it needs to. Another one of those silly secret-code paradox things you hear me dropping all the time, right?Yes, courage. But not just courage. You can’t just run this over. Also, patience. You must be patient, often in the moments where you are least interested in being patient. You might think that you can’t be patient, but remember that at one time you also thought that you could not be courageous, yet here you are. Do you struggle with being patient with your recovery? Feel free to use the comments section on Substack to talk about it. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit theanxiousmorning.substack.com