How long does it take and what is patience?

Looking back on my life and having read autism posts for four years now, I am considering more deeply how very long it takes to make significant changes in one's life. 

I can remember trying something one or twice...or even a week or two...and then saying, "Well, that doesn't work!"

Or I can try something for a period of time which seems to work and then one day it doesn't and I give up in disgust. 

There are certainly things that don't work. But many take much longer than we think to achieve noticeable differences in our lives. Years. Maybe even decades. 

When I was in my 20s and 30s, I participated in a 12 step program. One of the emphases was on gratitude. At the time, I barely thought of being thankful for anything in my life. One could even say I complained and whined a lot. 

In my 40s, I began to realize the importance of gratitude and meditation from a number of sources, but what comes to mind are the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Interestingly enough, the first book of his, that practically jumped off the store bookshelf and into my arms what his book on Anger. 

Oh, my! I hadn't even realized how angry I was. Most of the time!

Being grateful, for everything, has so improved the quality of my life. But it has only been the past couple of decades that gratitude has come to fill my life with its blessings. 

In retrospect, I can see how my younger self would have scoffed at the idea of being grateful for so much. Yet even then, I had much to be grateful for. 

So I am wondering if anyone else has seen where continuous practice over years has resulted in improvements in your own lives, Were you able to be patient? (In general, I am not patient at all!) What does patience mean to you?

How long are you willing to work on a new skill before giving up? 


Comments

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor
    If someone doesn't have what I want done in 30 seconds I asked that there fired.

    Would this constitute patience?
    Works for me😁
  • BenderBender Citizen
    Two of my biggest weaknesses are impatience and something else. I only achieved little progress on the second one, but I actually made significant progress on the first. I still get impatient sometimes, obviously, but it became a lot easier to control myself, and in normal circumstances, I'm keeping a close eye on impulsivity too.

    And while I'm not necessarily that good at expressing gratitude, my wife sometimes teases me about being a "covert optimist", as I deliberately cultivated looking at things from as many perspectives as possible, which helps me see the "silver lining" where others might not - but I consider this to make me a realist.

    I don't shy away from the horrible aspects of life, I think we have a duty not to close our eyes to them, but I make very deliberate efforts of giving enough attention to the good things in my life, especially when I'm struggling.

    That being said, I think "positive thinking" as it's usually (mis)represented in the West is a very shallow concept, often used in detrimental ways.

    Now I'm rambling... so to answer your question, it depends: if something is very important to me, I turn it into a life-long project. With more minor things, I give it what I consider a fair chance and try to be at least decently good at something, but I also had to learn that I can't become really good at some things: like drawing for instance 😛
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I'm not that great at keeping with things, but I think my overall patience has improved over the past couple of years. I've also been trying to express gratitude more often, which has usually been helpful for staying positive.

    I have noticed that I don't just think things I'm trying to learn aren't going to "work out" for me if I don't pick them up/change how I go about them fast enough, depression honestly is the main barrier that seems to mess with my motivation. It makes me quite pessimistic about achieving things.

    Whenever I get depressed and can't keep up with doing the things I was trying to learn I get very upset, as it's hard to get motivated to do those things again. I guess in a way I do feel like I've "failed" or that things won't "work out" because I let depression stop me from doing things I want to do.
  • Teach51Teach51 Citizen
    Looking back on my life and having read autism posts for four years now, I am considering more deeply how very long it takes to make significant changes in one's life. 

    I can remember trying something one or twice...or even a week or two...and then saying, "Well, that doesn't work!"

    Or I can try something for a period of time which seems to work and then one day it doesn't and I give up in disgust. 

    There are certainly things that don't work. But many take much longer than we think to achieve noticeable differences in our lives. Years. Maybe even decades. 

    When I was in my 20s and 30s, I participated in a 12 step program. One of the emphases was on gratitude. At the time, I barely thought of being thankful for anything in my life. One could even say I complained and whined a lot. 

    In my 40s, I began to realize the importance of gratitude and meditation from a number of sources, but what comes to mind are the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Interestingly enough, the first book of his, that practically jumped off the store bookshelf and into my arms what his book on Anger. 

    Oh, my! I hadn't even realized how angry I was. Most of the time!

    Being grateful, for everything, has so improved the quality of my life. But it has only been the past couple of decades that gratitude has come to fill my life with its blessings. 

    In retrospect, I can see how my younger self would have scoffed at the idea of being grateful for so much. Yet even then, I had much to be grateful for. 

    So I am wondering if anyone else has seen where continuous practice over years has resulted in improvements in your own lives, Were you able to be patient? (In general, I am not patient at all!) What does patience mean to you?

    How long are you willing to work on a new skill before giving up? 


    Thanks for this blaze. I was also in  a twelve step program for many many years after addiction had defeated me. Working the twelve step program changed my life and yes, it requires routine, self-examination and planning. I also developed my sense of gratitude there and became less impulsive and realised how life had conditioned me to be reactive. My particular  "flavour" of ADD makes me very impatient, always in need of instant gratification, and working my way through the  steps and doing spiritual work first of all brought me to the awareness of how I was thinking and behaving rather than using my addiction to suppress the negative feelings. I still wake up in the morning and make a mental list of what I am grateful for, even though I am on a different spiritual path, the twelve step program is deeply rooted in my perception and self-awareness, my way of self-examination, exiting the "victim" mind set.
    I can be so impatient that I will rip off the label of a new garment rather than wait 2 seconds to find the scissors in the drawer, and make a hole in a new shirt. I cannot wait long for people to finish speaking, I will interrupt them rather rudely, ADD is the culprit I believe, the impulsivity makes me so impatient that I cannot read lengthy texts unless I am highly motivated. I translate Kabbalah texts from Hebrew into English for hours which indicates to me that it is all about motivation because I don't have the patience to even begin reading a bank statement or anything I hate and find difficult.
  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    edited May 3
    Patience is a difficult one for me, I have quite a bit, but use quite a lot of it, I have it externally for others. Ive been cultivating it for myself also, but for some areas of my life that need structure and improvements I struggle with perseverance.

    I think for me its part of being conditioned by external motivators for a few decades, now that Im no longer motivated by fear, I find myself to have a super lax attitude to all areas that require effort. The reprogramming for internal motivation is a long and slow process, but Im still moving forward, so Im not dwelling on how difficult it can be to get there.

    My mind is quite easily distracted too, Verity has been great with sharing his process of constantly pulling himself back to tasks and Ive learned a lot from that.

    Gratitude came for me when I broke open, after my autistic burn out, after my mental health breakdown. The world I knew was gone, the skills I had thought were innate also gone, my self image was obliterated and I had so few spoons to spare that unwittingly I engaged in energy accounting. I grieved the loss of the old me, the things I had taken for granted, the skills built up over decades.

    Recognising that I was on the Autistic spectrum was a key part of this, I knew to make it out the other side of recovery that I had to account realistically.

    • Social skills eye contact external determinants of how I should be

    • Learning to communicate in a sustained reciprocal way was the first and only step for a long time, Kraftiekortie helped me with that.

    My point is that going back to basics, not out of choice but because thats what I was able for, gifted to me a whole new appreciation of the small things in life.

  • RobinRobin Member
    edited May 3
    Perhaps an aspect of patience is the ability to tolerate difficulty or frustration in the hope and expectation of a better outcome. I suspect that various aspects of autism can make this more difficult: perfectionism, dichotomous thinking (believing that one can either do something or one can't, rather than accepting that one becomes gradually able to achieve something with practice), resistance to change, and the lack of the instinct to seek help among them. To say nothing of the sensory and other difficulties that may impede learning.

    Those traits have certainly been true of myself at one time or another. And yet we can also draw on our autistic strengths to exercise patience, or what passes for it. Our perseverance and concentration, logic and intelligence among them. I have learned languages and sewn patchwork quilts by hand from thousands of pieces. My NT partner marvelled at my 'patience', but in truth the repetition, structure and order all suited my autistic abilities.

    Thank you for this affirmative post, @blazingstar: your honest, wise and kindly words seem to me to be pertinent to many threads on this forum. Patience may be difficult for us, but I do believe that if we can overcome our low tolerance for frustration, we can achieve real feats of application.
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