I noticed it at the four way stop along 155th when two cars failed to stop completely, both rolling through the stop sign. One of the non-stop drivers honked at the other. Neither wanted to wait. And while they were moving slowly, they each had to swerve to miss the other.
And I see it in myself, an impatience that rises up just about every morning when I’m begging, pleading, (sometimes threatening) and just plain wishing my daughter Sweet P would Just. Get. In. The. Car. Each day she finds a new stalling strategy, a way to avoid the booster seat until I’m nearly hypothermic. And, each day I respond, each day by repeating “Get in the car, NOW,” about 12 million times.
Now, and this may come as a a surprise, but my impatience does not help. It doesn’t cause her to move any faster, or care any more that I’m waiting.
And the quality that is likely to appear in a checkout line near you most commonly causes big trouble – everything from irritation to intolerance to violence comes out of impatience.
Plenty of Big Wigs say impatience breeds anger, stress, heart disease and anxiety – and dozens of other bad-for-you things. And the degree of impatience most of us exhibit these days is just bad behavior. We eat too fast, demand too much, freak out when we have to wait too long at the drive-thru.
Let’s do it different this week. Let’s breathe a little deeper, pause before we speak. Eat more mindfully. Make room for others and ourselves to move at a pace that is healthy and sensible and respectful and tolerant.
This kind of patience makes room for creativity. It holds space for inspired action insuring that you have time to make a wise, next move – or at least a better one. Patience is the pause that allows someone to speak, to finish a thought, (or a sentence) and be heard. To be patient with someone else is to leave room for them to have their own experience without being pushed, interrupted, berated, bombarded.
Try it today. Slow down. Breathe. And do something crazy like stop at a yellow light. Then, be patient with the guy who honks when you do. Give space to a new, different idea. Wait, without judgment, for that slow poke crossing the street or the one digging her change out of her purse at the checkout line. Make room for a spouse, kid, friend, co-worker to do things their own way, on their own time. And offer the same gift to yourself. In that pause, maybe we’ll find a way to connect to our best selves and then, we can see the better part of others.