Are you an impatient driver?
So I’m driving down 25A to my physical therapy appointment last week. I’ve been going for awhile now to treat my shoulder. The physiatrist’s office is on the south side of the road, so I have to make a left turn across traffic to get there. I’m running a little late because there was construction on the road. The traffic from the other direction is just coming and coming and nobody will stop and let me turn in. I’m starting to get frazzled. “Wait a minute. I don’t like the way that feels. I don’t want to do this.“
Foot on the brake, I closed my eyes and took a big slow deep breath. Then I opened my eyes and looked up. A car had stopped to let me cross the road. I waved and mouthed a “Thank you” as i drove in front of her. Of course I was happy at that moment that the woman let me through, but even more, i was thrilled that I recognized my impatience and that I didn’t want to feel that way. I remembered that I had a choice. I could stay angry or return to a state of peace which is born of patience.
Today we’re starting a new series on Patience. Especially in the extreme experiences that we’ve gone through over the last year and a half, patience may seem impossible to achieve. My view is that we have even more opportunities to be a patient in our busy, busy lives.
It seems like impatience is accepted as normal in our society today. Long ago it was not. It was considered inappropriate to be impatient. But today we’re all impatient. We’re all rushing around. We need to get things done. And so we tend to excuse it.
But what are the repercussions of being impatient? How is it affecting you? Have you realized that perhaps it’s not in your own best interest to be impatient? The question you might be asking yourself is, “Where does this lack of patience come from?
If patience is a product of peace, then impatience must be its opposite. Impatience is the product of stress. Therefore, if you want to be more patient, you will need to learn how to handle your daily stress. I’m the releasing-stress diva and I want to help you find every little scrap of stress in your day and transform it so you can have the peace and happiness you deserve.
Recently, I was reading a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology that talked about three kinds of impatience:
- Interpersonal- being impatient with your family, your friends, your customers, your clients, even strangers. In other words, anybody in your immediate vicinity. Unless you’re a hermit, you have to deal with many people daily.
- Life hardship. These are things that happen infrequently. You lose your job and are under pressure to find another. Or you’re going through a messy divorce, or you lose your lease and have to move. Moving is hell, i know from experience! Or you or someone close to you is ill. Probably just about all of us have had some brush with illness in the recent past. So patience with doctors not communicating, with the nursing staff not doing things in a timely fashion, with not feeling better fast enough, are all opportunities to practice patience.
- Daily Hassles – We encounter the daily hassles of life that challenge our patience capabilities the
most often, such as waiting in traffic, as I mentioned in my story, long lines at the DMV or supermarket or waiting on hold when trying to reach a customer service representative.
So these are the daily situations where impatience rears its head and we have an opportunity to rethink it and say, do I really have to be impatient in this situation? I mean, this is going on and I have a right to be upset, or do i?
Let’s look at the consequences of impatience:
- feeling stressed–Are you peaceful? Are you joyful? Or are you unfocused, off-balance?
- feeling angry–the line doesn’t move fast enough, this person isn’t listening to you, whatever it is.
- shutting down and saying, “ I can’t deal with this. It’s terrible and I just don’t want to think about it.”
This is why it is crucial that you monitor yourself. Patience is a skill you learn. Imagine that patience is a muscle. You want to get strong muscles so you want to build your patience. The way you do that is by noticing when you are feeling impatient, when you’re annoyed, when you’re angry, when you’re in denial. All of those could be indications that you’re impatient and they’re affecting you. They’re having an impact on your well being and you don’t have to let that continue to happen.
My definition of patience is intelligent waiting. You find yourself in a situation and there is nothing you can do to change it. If there were, you would do it. Instead of getting hysterical and losing your patience, you say to yourself, “OK. This is not in my control right now. And I can do something else with my time.”
That’s what I do. One thing that really helps me, especially in the car, is listening to digital books or podcasts. If I get stuck in traffic, I have something I’m enjoying while I’m waiting so it’s not an imposition. It’s actually a chance to get to the next chapter of the book. By having an alternative, a Plan B that you can put into place, you can maintain your peace instead of giving in to impatience.
As I always say, it’s about shifting your attitude of the situation so that you can go through it with ease and even with happiness. You may not be happy about the situation, but you can choose to be peaceful in the situation.
You don’t want the frustration. You don’t want the anger. You don’t want that stuff because it’s going to impact you physically, mentally, emotionally. Patience, or Intelligent Waiting, is intelligent because there are elements of discernment and trust. I don’t know what the universe has in store for me at this moment or the next but I’m willing to trust that it will benefit me in the end. And so I stay open to whatever happens.
And then you look up and the car stops and lets you through. It’s those kinds of things, the synchronicities that occur when we allow trust to take over instead of impatience that will change your life enormously and bring a smile to your face instead of a grimace. (Don’t do it! It will give you wrinkles!)
Peace and Love Always,
I always tell you that I’m here for you because I want you to know that you have all the answers that you need within you, even if the answer you get is, “Go get help from so and so.” That answer will send you in the right direction so you can be the calm, creative, joyful and successful businesswoman you are meant to be!
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