How Can I Be More Patient with Myself?

The Book of Mormon makes it clear that patience is an attribute of Jesus Christ and that His disciples should also strive to develop that attribute. It speaks about being patient in sufferings, in tribulations, in persecutions, and in afflictions (Alma 1:25, Alma 17:11, Alma 20:29, Alma 26:27-28, Alma 31:31, Alma 34:41, Alma 60:26). Patience is holding steady while we endure discomfort. It is letting a beneficial process run its course, even when we want the process to end.

As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:

If certain mortal experiences were cut short, it would be like pulling up a flower to see how the roots are doing. Put another way, too many anxious openings of the oven door, and the cake falls instead of rising (“Endure It Well,” General Conference, April 1990).

When I make a mistake, I want to fix it as quickly as possible.

But when I am acquiring a new skill, establishing a new habit, or breaking an old habit, I recognize that patience is required. Some essential processes take time to complete. If we change course in mid-stream, we may fail to receive the blessings for which we have only paid part of the price. So an important key to patience is remaining focused on the end goal and trusting that we are moving toward that goal.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught:

A certain amount of impatience may be useful to stimulate and motivate us to action. However, I believe that a lack of patience is a major cause of the difficulties and unhappiness in the world today….
We should learn to be patient with ourselves. Recognizing our strengths and our weaknesses, we should strive to use good judgment in all of our choices and decisions, make good use of every opportunity, and do our best in every task we undertake. We should not be unduly discouraged nor in despair at any time when we are doing the best we can. Rather, we should be satisfied with our progress even though it may come slowly at times (“Patience, a Key to Happiness,” General Conference, April 1987).

Today, I will strive to be patient with myself. I will focus on my long-term goals, remembering that meaningful accomplishments generally require consistent effort over time. I will move steadily forward, and I will be grateful for my progress, even when it is slower than I had hoped.

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