Give Yourself the Gift of Time
Have you ever noticed how everyone is in a hurry? People are rushing here and there. People are scurrying to get all the things on their to-do list accomplished by the end of the day—only to find that they have another to-do list the next day. Together, moving faster and accomplishing goals at a faster pace is almost like a national pastime.
Recovering from my hip replacement surgery has given me an opportunity to explore my relationship with time. Since my surgery, I have had many thoughts regarding time. For example, I was distressed because I was not sleeping a full eight hours per night. When in actuality, I was napping during the day in addition to how much I was sleeping at night. Other thoughts that plagued me were “Is my body healing in the appropriate amount of time?” “How long will it be until I feel like I am ready to coach or write again?” “When can I start driving?” In many ways, time was consuming my thoughts in the early weeks of my recovery.
I am here to tell you that my preoccupation with time and the speed of my recovery was only filling me with anxiety. I found myself comparing my recovery to other people’s recovery. I found myself comparing my most recent experience with my previous hip replacement recovery experience that occurred in 2007. Somehow, I got it in my head that everything should be faster than it was eight years ago. After all, doctors have made changes to improve outcomes and keep patients in the hospital for the least amount of time necessary. When I spent more time in the hospital this time, I was entertaining a host of thoughts that all revolved around the concept that this experience was not as good as the experience in 2007. Somehow, I thought that if the recovery was faster than it must be better. Therefore, when my hospital experience did not go exactly as planned, I was fraught with disappointment and grief. I was not a model patient because my healing did not break the world record for recovery.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was a prisoner to my thoughts about speed, and none of this allowed me to be patient with myself, my body, or my recovery process. I am very grateful to a fellow life coach, who helped me investigate the myth that faster is better. Faster is not better, at least it’s not for me. My body is going to heal in its own unique time and in its own unique way. To be honest, I found it extremely beneficial to give myself the gift of time. After all, some things—many things—cannot be rushed. Creating an intentional relationship with a significant other cannot be rushed. Making an awesome soufflé cannot be rushed. Building a business that is meaningful and fulfilling doesn’t happen overnight, and the human body heals in its own time, whether the healing is from a surgery or a break up with a significant other. Our bodies benefit from not being pushed by our thoughts. They feel supported when they can take their time and recover at a pace that makes sense to them.
The gift of time is a precious thing. I have coached so many people who are in a hurry to get the new job of their dreams, to be done grieving the loss of a marriage, or to simply be further along in their personal growth. We as people have a difficult time accepting and even rejoicing where we are. We always want to be further along. Whatever each of us is facing, whether it’s growing a business, getting back in shape, or decluttering our home, I have come to believe that everything has its own process, and life is not to be rushed. Heck, if we rush any process, we certainly don’t appreciate where we currently are or what to learn from where we are. If we are speeding through life, we simply miss out on all the gifts of the present moment. So, do yourself a favor. Slow down, and give yourself the gift of time.
Where in your life do you find yourself rushing or being less than patient with a particular process?
Please share. I would love to hear.
During my recovery, I read a wonderful book by Elizabeth Gilbert titled The Signature of All Things. Barbara Kingsolver had this to say about the book in a New York Times book review: “The Signature of All Things is a bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its best truths to the uncommonly patient minds.”
Since I have been contemplating time and the speed to which we all act, it seems important to remind people of a book I read a number of years ago that discusses this very issue: In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré.
Also, next on my list is Carl Honoré’s book The Slow Fix. I encourage you all to hold me accountable for reading this.
I call myself a recovering perfectionist. My healing and recovery process, which was filled with moments of comparison to others and to my past experience, indicated that my desire for perfectionism is alive and well. These moments are great reminders to allow my process to be its own in an effort to allow myself to be me. Here are two quotes that remind me of the dangers of comparison.
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching