Growth Takes Patience

By Monika Sharma, Psy.D.

When people come to therapy, they are often hoping to see change happen within the first few sessions.  For some clients, this may indeed happen.  For others, that change may not be felt or seen in any obvious way for a while.  But that doesn’t mean that growth is not happening.

Much like planting a seed deep in the soil, any endeavor for growth may take a while to recognize.  Once planted, we don’t expect to see a stem with leaves and flowers right away.  We tend to the soil, water it, place it in sunlight, and demonstrate patience and care. We trust that, even though we don’t see it, a plant is beginning to germinate under the soil and will sprout when ready.  If we were to become impatient and poke around in the soil, or we no longer water it because we’ve given up on the seedling…we run the risk of killing it.  We do not see the fruits of our labor or our intentions manifest.

It’s not hard to see this process when it comes to learning a new skill like tennis.  Or when trying to improve our strength and fitness through exercise.  Or when pursuing a degree, raising children, or starting a business.  We set out to accomplish something important to us and realize these accomplishments do not, can not, take place in a short time frame.  In fact, some of these goals require a lifetime of effort, such as maintaining our health.

When engaging in therapy or any other attempts to change, we must remember to treat ourselves with patience and kindness…by providing ourselves with consistent nourishment through a healthy lifestyle, by seeking sunlight through the support of family and friends, and by trusting that we all have flowers and fruits to bear in time.