Be patient with yourself and you'll actually make faster progress


Learning to be patient with yourself is one of life's great paradoxes.

The only way you can do it is to exercise a quality you don't have enough of to get more of it.


Many singles never acquire this crucial trait. They're continually frustrated with their mistakes and bad decisions and turn into their own harshest critic.

That takes you in the opposite direction. All of us move forward at different speeds. Comparing your place in life to someone else's can lead to jealousy and bitterness. That's no way to live.

So how can you make progress and learn to accept yourself?

Life is not a race--or is it?


We're competitive by nature. We get a jolt of satisfaction when we're smarter, richer, or better-looking than someone else. And, it feeds our self-esteem. Unfortunately, this feeling easily degenerates into smugness. Eventually we run into somebody who tops us, then we have a painful crash.

If you feel you don't have much going for you, be patient with yourself. Many singles are late bloomers. We also buy into the constant message our culture gives us, instead of what truly matters.

We pay too much attention to TV commercials that tell us life is a game. We see egotistical athletes shouting their own praises and acting as if what they do truly matters. It makes for good drama, but it doesn't apply to anything outside of sports.

This is the age of hype. Every business claims they will give you the edge you need to succeed. Winning has turned into a coveted prize, not just in sports but in life. But that's not what the Bible says.

Instead, learn to compete with yourself, not others. God made you unique. He wants you to build on your own talents and abilities, not get in a life-race with someone else.

Be patient with yourself: Go slow and steady

When we're young, we want everything to happen right now! Our society pushes instant gratification.

But that's an illusion. It's simply not the way real life works. Good things take time, from earning an education to getting a promotion. The go-go-go pace is a recipe for an upcoming crash, whether emotional or physical or both.


The faster you go, the more quality suffers, whether it's building your spiritual maturity or becoming skilled at your job. Your boss may expect you to become 100 percent competent 100 percent of the time and do it overnight, but that's not realistic.

Yes, we owe our employer our best effort, but conditions outside our control often prevent perfect performance. When you work to be patient with yourself, you will learn from your mistakes and not repeat them. You'll be more alert to potential problems. You'll manage things better while under stress.

We'd all like to be perfect, but only God is perfect. We'd all like to avoid the embarrassment of never fouling up, but that's not possible. We're often harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Compassion begins at home. Cut yourself a break. You don't accomplish anything worthwhile by running yourself down.

It's infinitely better to make slow and steady progress rather than go too fast, get off track, lose time while you're blaming yourself, then have to start all over again. Instead, learn to expect missteps. Acknowledge that you're only human. Understand that it's no big deal. Gently forgive yourself and move on.

Treat yourself as God does


Take a lesson from God. He is patient with you, so be patient with yourself. Whether it's your work life, personal life, or spiritual life, don't berate yourself. Yes, we should be sorry for our sins, but after we repent and receive forgiveness, we need to move on.

God has realistic expectations for you. He created you and knows you better than you know yourself. He knows you'll fall short sometimes. Just because you occasionally miss the mark doesn't mean you won't get another chance. If that were the case, we would all have been done in our childhood.

The more difficult the task, the more challenging the goal, the more necessary it is for you to be patient with yourself.

We singles are prone to blaming ourselves if we don't meet someone else's expectations--or even our own. It's an easy trap to get into, but the more you study the Bible, the more you'll be convinced competition is not the meaning of life.

In the long run, we find happiness through an intimate relationship with God, not by trouncing everyone else. Instead of guzzling a sports drink and pounding your chest, have a nice cup of tea and thank God for providing your salvation.

In the long run, you become the person God wants you to be by practicing Jesus' qualities of kindness and compassion first toward yourself, then toward others.

Return to top of patient with yourself.