My sweet dog, Bailey, loves to go for neighborhood walks. And I joke that my heart rate tends to be lower than when I’m sitting at the computer working. Why?
She’s a sniffer.
Each blade of grass. The streetlights. And, of course, the universal dog message board – fire hydrants.
Sometimes I think, “GAH! This is so boring.” while other times I feel absolutely in zen delight that she’s enjoying her home planet her way.
In general or by default, where do you land on the spectrum of being patient with people, places, things and events?
Do you find it hard or easy to be patient…or “it depends”?
I used to be a little, shall we say, tightly wound. In a hurry.
I equated moving fast with thinking fast.
It was something that was modeled for me from a young age, that being in a hurry or moving fast was a sign of respect, hard work, and even intelligence.
In the past few years as I coach myself and others, I have enjoyed having Bailey be a different teacher.
I imagine our conversations:
“Urg, Bailey, why can’t we just walk and get some pep in our step. This is boring!”
“Moving fast is boring. This is better. Where are you in a hurry to go, anyway?”
Of course, I’m a coach and I know intellectually that no person, place or thing that cause me to feel impatient.
Impatience and patience are generated from within my own mind and body.
I cannot actually “be patient with” Bailey.
It more accurate to say I am learning the hardest job – to be patient with myself.
Sure, I might have a part of me that gets antsy and wants to walk briskly with purpose and high energy, dancing in the sun beams with my heart pounding joyfully! That part of me wants to go!
Bailey does not want to go that fast. And she’s older and prefers her pace.
Those walks are for both of us.
She exercises her sniffing.
I exercise being comfortable with my impatience.
If you are someone who can sometimes experience impatience, try the following recipe:
- Notice the thoughts. Step back from them as if you are in the audience of a play where the character speaking is “The Impatient One.” What is that character saying? (Sometimes I find the humor quickly when I step back.)
- Notice the feeling in your body. Do you feel a tightening or pressure? Where? Be a scientist and make mental notes describing neutrally the sensations you feel.
- Decide if you want to keep impatience as an “inside job” or express it on the outside of you through words, movement or other behaviors.
Sometimes, i find that my impatience seems to be easier to live with just when I notice the storm of activity that’s being generated in my thoughts and feelings.
Frankly, I can’t think of any situations where expressing impatience improves the outcome.
Is being impatient a choice you want to make in your relationships?
Same with the relationship with yourself.
When you’re impatient, you’re reinforcing a pattern or even an identity that might not serve you any longer.
Impatience, like any other reaction, is nothing more than information.
It’s what you choose to do with that information that matters to you and others the most.
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with my podcast, “Less Stress, More Fun.” Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes are short (14-18 mins, on average), smart (lots of research) and fun (especially if you love 80s music).