References sections are the worst. I have always hated them. I know they are important. I know they are needed. But they are annoying. They are tedious. There are a million different ways to format them. They take a long time to create.
One reason I loved being an English major was because I could write papers without requiring outside sources, because then I didn’t need to create a reference page with those sources.
Even though I’m not making my own references sections anymore, I have to edit a lot of them. I still think they are annoying. Sometimes it takes me longer to edit a three-page references section than it does a ten-page paper.
I think one reason I don’t like them is because I am not naturally a detail-oriented person. I prefer big-picture things. I have learned to pay attention details, and can thrive in a detail-oriented job, but it is not my preferred mode of operation.
But really, it might just be impatience. I don’t like that seemingly small things take so much time. And I have noticed this impatience pop-up in other areas of my life.
I want my anxiety to be fixed after one counseling session. I want to lose ten pounds from going on three runs. I want my relationship with Kalyn to improve by doing one nice thing. I want to get over the mean thing someone said to me in ten minutes.
Lately, I have been trying to give myself permission to move slowly. And it has been really freeing.
I am giving myself permission to not have everything figured out by tomorrow. I am giving myself permission to struggle.
The truth is, sometimes small things affect us in big ways. Sometimes small pains take a long time to work through. And that is ok.
Sometimes small changes require a million smaller changes, all of which take time to implement, and therefore the small change we want to see takes a long time to happen. And that is ok.
When we try to change and heal as fast as we possibly can, we end-up making things worse. If I try to correct a references section in two minutes, I will miss errors. If I try to run on a broken ankle the day after I break it, I will make it worse. And the same is true of our hearts. If we don’t allow our hearts time to heal and change, they will only get more wounded and more stuck and the deeper issues we never took the time to work through will remain unknown.
So take the pressure of yourself to get-over things quickly. It’s ok to take two months (or longer) to get over the boy that turned you down. It’s ok to take five years to learn how to be truly real. It’s ok to spend your whole life learning to love yourself.
In fact, if time is what you need, and you are moving forward, it is not just ok. It is best.
There is freedom in slowness. There is freedom in not having a deadline. There is freedom in healing and changing at your own pace. Embrace it.
We are not wind. We are not raging rivers. We are not in a race. So we don’t need to act like we are.
Question: What things or kind of things prevent us from moving slowly through problems and changes? I would love to hear from you in the comments.