The Japanese proverb, “Perseverance is strength,” might be an apt thought for this March. The majority of the winter is over, but it doesn’t feel like it is over with below zero wind chills and snow still threatening. All it takes now is waiting it out, in the best way we know how. Under the snow, new life is already stirring.
The ability to wait things out doesn’t come easily to most of us. When things get hard and have gone on for a long time, there is the urge to give up. Ironically, this feeling often comes right before a change or a breakthrough is about to happen. Not a few times, a severely depressed person has told me later that they were so glad that they had held on and had not taken their own life at a time when things looked only dark.
Perseverance is a pre-requisite for success. Most things take more time that we would have imagined and cost more than we had planned. Achieving anything worthwhile requires being able to hold on.
People often come to therapy when they are tired from holding on and are beginning to lose confidence in some part of their life that affects their happiness. The question is whether to stay the course or take things in a new direction. Part of perseverance is consciously having this honest conversation before abandoning a dream, a goal, or a relationship, out of fatigue. What besides the weather is causing you fatigue? Where in your life are you “holding on”? What are you thinking of letting go? Is there wisdom in the letting go of “sunk costs” or is it perseverance that is required?