I thought I had patience, but when I look at my past experience, I can easily say that I didn’t. A good way to define patience is the capacity to accept delay without being upset. I think I was able to accept delay, but I wasn’t happy about it. I don’t think patience is something we are born with. We are probably our least patient when we’re toddlers and have no concept of time. It is definitely a skill. A skill that I wished I had cultivated early on.
In order to become patience, we need to know the underlying cause of impatience. If you’ve read some of my recent blog posts, you would know about how expectation is a hinderance to love. The reason why we are impatient is because there is some delay or difficulty that wasn’t expected. The problem with expectations is that nothing ever really goes to plan, so the thing we should expect is for things to not go smoothly.
Accepting the Journey
I’m a big ideas person. I have a lot of ideas and I feel free when I get to express those ideas. The problem that I had is that once I put my idea in the universe, I needed others to act on it. If we all agreed that it was a good idea, my expectation was there would be action. Sometimes that action took multiple years, sometimes it never came.
When ideas did see the light of day, I really did not have an attitude of gratefulness, but had an “I told you so”belief once we saw that the idea was a success. I reminded people constantly that if they did what I asked so and so years ago, we’d be in a better position than were now just starting. My problem was not that I freely gave out ideas, it was that I was so invested in making sure there was an outcome. It caused me frustration when expectation was not met.
I really wish I did a better job of accepting the fate of the ideas. More importantly, I wish I had surrendered into the process without caring what the process would be. I was too invested in something I had very little to no control. Instead of fighting this reality, I should have accepted it and let things move at its own pace. The pace of how everyone works around me is something that I cannot fight, yet I chose to, which brought on a ton of impatience. We do it all the time. We can’t fight traffic. There’s no purpose in fighting it. When someone makes a mistake, our impatience isn’t going to make anything better.
Impatience Brings Anger and Frustration
That doesn’t mean our feelings of anger are invalid. Feelings are also something we can’t control. when we’re angry, we’re angry. It’s how we decide to behave as a result of that anger. Once we have an emotion, we start to think about that emotion and try to rationalize it. This is the crucial part where we decide to accept what has happen, or intensify the situation with our anger. This is why patience is a skill. You may not always get the choice correct, but if you are able to self reflect, you will be able to get it right the more you practice patience.
Slowing Down in this Fast Paced World
Everything has to happen now. Everything is a priority. One of my frustrations with this fast paced world is I felt that everything needed from me was needed with urgency, but when I needed something that same urgency wasn’t felt. Now, I just want to slow down for good.
Even having the expectation of reciprocation is not a virtue. I should do things at the speed that I want to do them, and I shouldn’t expect anyone else to work any differently. That means being patient with people as they help without enforcing arbitrary deadlines. There will be times when we hit walls. Especially then we must remember to take a break and plan for how we want to conquer this difficulty.
One thing that I’ve learned in the past two years (among a lot of other things), is if my actions only benefit me, then they aren’t the right actions to take. I have to always have a wider perspective and see how my actions benefit or burden other people. Empathy is a word that gets brought up all the time, but practiced very poorly. When it comes to my initiatives and my plans, I always have to put on the shoes of someone else. How would they be affected if I took this or that action.
I really can’t expect people to be on the same page as me. I also can’t expect people see the things that I see, or want to do the things that I want to do. That takes time. In nature, everything comes in its own time. How would it look like if tried to force a caterpillar to become a butterfly. If you try to bake cookies faster than it’s meant to be, you’re most likely going to burn them. Everything takes time.