Do you live your life at warp speed? Are you thrown off by unforeseen complications? Are you frantic to meet deadlines or goals? Do you hate to wait? Are you a slave to the clock? Do you lose it when your computer IT guy takes too long to diagnosis and fix a problem? Do you find yourself antsy and frustrated when other people go at a slower pace? Are you unable to sit or stand still and constantly fidgeting?
Well, the price you pay is huge. First and foremost, your hurried pace and unease rob you of the ability to savor the moment. Consequently you rarely feel peace. Second, you refuse to accept that some things unfold in a time frame that is out of your control. Third, your controlling and abrasive manner pushes other people away. This often backfires when others react to your behavior by intentionally slowing things down further. Fourth, you often lose your connection with people or situations and get consumed by your own frustration, anxiety, and myopic reality.
It's usually the case that one of our early caretakers had the "impatience gene" that we inherited. I view impatience as a fear-anger attitude. We're freaked out about time issues and controlled by time. Consequently, we are angry because we have unrealistic expectations about how long a given activity "should" take and feel upset when it inevitably takes longer than we planned.
If you're tired of your impatience and the havoc it is wreaking within yourself and with those around you, there is a remedy.
Surrender. Give up. Turn it over.
Accept that things go at a different pace than you'd prefer.
When you begin to feel that familiar antsiness, the first thing to do is pause, step back and take a few measured breaths. Ideally, if the situation allows, shiver and quiver the fear energy out of your body. Tremble like a dog at the vet. Up the spine. Out your arms, legs, and hands. Do it hard, fast and with abandon for literally 90 seconds or until you start laughing.
While shivering and after, it's important you think constructive thoughts about the situation, such as:
* Stop. Breathe. Relax.
* Everything is all right.
* Everything will be okay.
* This isn't life or death.
Moving out the emotional energy and installing the reality will bring you to a more centered space. Only then can you look within, and make another choice besides exhibiting your impatience, and find the constructive thing to say and do.
Maybe the best thing to do is nothing. Maybe you need to practice a calming activity while waiting. Try repeating constructive thoughts, such as: "I don't like to wait but my spouse always looks so good when she's finished." Maybe it's to enjoy the scenery. Maybe hum a tune. Possibly you need to assert yourself lovingly and speak up with something like: "I need to be at work right now, but I'll give you a call later this morning." Whatever your message, it's NOT saying something snarky or critical, that's for sure.
Let's talk about the benefits of getting the upper hand over this anxiety generating, disconnection producing attitude. You'll feel more centered and relaxed, and be able to flow with life and other people. You'll enjoy your environment more and have time to smell the roses. You will learn to live in the present moment, to hear your intuition, and to act from a position of clarity. Others will feel more comfortable around you. You'll be able to maintain a healthier perspective about what is really important. And most importantly, you will feel more love and peace as you begin to realize you're not the center of the universe and that people and things move at their own pace.
There is another aspect to impatience / patience. When we hold onto our belief about how things should be unfolding, we're apt to miss out on enjoying the present moment. As I've gotten older, I've come to understand it's much better to appreciate what today offers, rather than trying to engineer a certain future outcome.