What is it that makes it so hard to be patient with ourselves and others? Is it simply a part of living our fast-paced lives in this current day and age? Why is it easy to be patient in some situations and not in others? What hidden expectations do we have of ourselves and others that make us feel impatient? Is it when we or others are not moving as fast or skillfully as we want to or expect? When someone we love wants our care and attention while we are busy caring for ourselves? Driving in traffic? Stuck in a line at the DMV? When are you the most impatient?
We often feel out of control when events unfold in a way that don’t match our plans and expectations. Impatience is the body’s way of telling you that your expectations and reality are out of sync. If I gave myself 30-minutes to run into the store and the cashier is chatty and moving slowly and I’m going to be late for my next appointment, I could begin to feel anxious. Reality is not cooperating with my plan and I feel out of control to stay ‘on track’. The higher my impatience, the stronger (and usually more negative) my response will be to the situation. In the best case, I may start to ‘help’ this cashier by moving things down the belt, bagging and cutting the conversation short. In the worst case, I may start to criticize the cashier, complain to my line-mate asking what is taking so long, roll my eyes, and stamp my foot loudly so that others will hear how unhappy I am and how it’s the cashier’s fault. None of these responses feel good and are not necessary if we can change our perspective of what is happening.
What if the events unfolding were the Universe’s plan for you? What if your current circumstances were giving you another chance to let go and engage with what is actually happening moment to moment instead of our ego’s ‘plan’? We have a choice about what we make our experiences mean. If our plans not working out, we can make it mean we have failed, yet that is not the truth. It’s not about getting life to match up to your expectations, its about engaging in your life in a way that is loving to yourself and others, regardless of what is actually happening.
When I’m stuck in traffic and am going to be late for an appointment I’ve made, I can listen to my ego’s story which will trigger impatience in me. My ego can make it mean that: I was not responsible enough and should have left earlier; I’m going to miss out on something by being late; Those waiting for me will disapprove, think less of me, or not want to work with me again. My ego can go even further and terrorize me by imagining the frightening future that will unfold if everyone thinks of me like this - ultimately seeing myself in the future as poor, alone and homeless. The ego is a powerful story teller of the future to try and keep us safe. It’s up to us to decide what story is true and come up with one that works for us, not against us.
Now that I know what my ego is up to, I have created a new story that is much closer to the truth for me and allows me to be patient even when external circumstances are not going my way. The reality is that everything is happening FOR me, not AGAINST me and when I remember this, I also remember that I always have a choice that feels good to me, regardless of the circumstances. When stuck in traffic now, I simply accept that this is serving some higher purpose that I’m not yet aware of, and the most loving thing I can do for myself is to alert those waiting for me to what is happening and what to expect. Perhaps there is an accident I am avoiding by being in this traffic? Maybe this will give someone else at my appointment a chance to be there if I am late? I may never know and it’s not my job to figure that out or understand the benefit to everyone involved. We may learn about some of that after the fact, and we may not. Our job is to find a way to be as loving and kind to ourselves and others as we can when things don’t go they way we expect them to. Impatience comes from a lack of personal power to ask for what we want, say no to what we don’t want and attend to our well being regardless of what others do, say, think or feel. We can decide to tell ourselves a different story about what is happening and cultivate the patience we seek to feel peaceful about what is unfolding before us. When we trust ourselves to listen for and take care of our own needs when things don’t go as planned, we can relax, be patient and simply roll with life - without making ourselves or anyone else wrong about how it is all happening. Impatience feels tense and brings a sense of aggression and powerlessness and holding on. Patience feels relaxed and brings a sense of ease, empowerment and letting go.
Are you willing to relax into the energy of patience today?
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