Ask Alle: On waiting

Aw snap, it’s time for another edition of…

Alle Malice has a B.A. in Psychology, which is basically a degree in seeing through other people’s bullshit. She also has a BA in English, but that’s not really relevant. Though she does not pretend to have it all figured out, she does have enough figured out to be helpful.

I had a question for you in relation to your most recent post, when you say that you make changes “WHEN I’M READY AND NOT A MOMENT SOONER.”  I can definitely relate to that because I am very much the same way–I say over and over to myself “Change takes its own time.”  The question I had for you is what do you do in the MEANTIME while you are waiting for yourself to be ready to change?  I get stuck in these funky self-deprecation cycles because I want to change, but I’m not ready, so I get mad at myself, which delays the change, etc. etc. etc. Do you have an easier time with the patience needed to wait for yourself to be ready?  I am just curious if you have any insight or strategies since we seem to be really similar in that regard.

-B

I’m a pretty stubborn person. Always have been. I view it as an asset, because it means that I’m not easily swayed by outside influences. But as you’ve pointed out, it also means that change, even when it’s for the better, is difficult.

When I thought about waiting for change, the first thing I thought of was when I was but a wee Mini Malice of twelve or thirteen. All of my friends were going BOY CRAZY and I was…not. I didn’t care about boys and didn’t want to, because I didn’t want any one subject to take up so much space in my head. I kind of knew in the back of my mind that one day I would want to kiss someone, but at the same time it seemed so far-off and different that I couldn’t fathom it happening to me, ever.

As you said, change took its own time. While I was waiting, I learned how to be friends with boys. I watched my friends in relationships and decided how I did and did not want to be. Most importantly, I had fun! I did other things! And then when change happened, when that thought of “Hey, dudes aren’t so bad, and now I’d like to smooch this one,” crept in, it didn’t feel like an abrupt left turn from the usual. It felt like a normal extension of my life.

It’s hard to have to think about waiting to change, because so often “waiting” means “sitting around and doing nothing, stressing and worrying about what’s taking so long.” But it doesn’t have to be a passive experience. While you’re waiting, test the boundaries of where you are RIGHT NOW. I wasn’t ready to date boys, but could I talk to them? Could I be friends with them? Yes I could. I suggest doing the same thing, whatever the change is that you’re waiting on. I may not be ready for X, but can I do Y? If you can’t, no big deal, try something else. And if you can, hello confidence boost! It’s a wonderful feeling, being able to do something new; it’s solely responsible for getting me though a LOT of crappy days.

The only other thing I can say is not to stress out about it, and I know that’s waaaaaaaay easier said than done. If you find yourself in a funky self-deprecation cycle, tell yourself “If I’m not ready, I’m not ready. Okay,” and then go and do something else. Because YOU are the boss of your thoughts, and if you tell them to stop it with the negativity already, they best STOP IT WITH THE NEGATIVITY ALREADY.

I wish I could say something calming like “You accumulate patience with time, and eventually things become easier,” but the fact is that you don’t and it doesn’t. Patience is a virtue that I just don’t have, and it makes waiting for anything exquisitely uncomfortable no matter how much I practice.

But I do practice, and that’s where being stubborn proves to be a blessing again. Because I know that whatever I’m waiting for is important, I cling to that idea, and prepare myself. And then whenever the change comes, however much I stressed about it initially, I’m ready for it. And it’s almost always really nice.

Good luck.

Loves you!

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