Patience is a virtue that I don’t have.
Yet I have had to learn to be better. To reinforce it as time has gone on.
Perhaps that is a stupid question to ask because I am sure it is probably obvious why patience is important but I don’t think it is something that many of us naturally have. It occurs, to me at least, that this is something that we learn through life directly or indirectly.
I grew up with a very impatient mother and a generally patient father. Whilst my brother has since become the more patient one I would say that I definitely have become the impatient one.
The one not wanting to wait. The one insisting that something we had been talking about has to happen that very moment or it won’t happen at all.
I don’t know when that changed. I don’t know when I became more aware of that but it is true.
And I wish I could be more patient.
Patience has an impact on so much of what we do. It impacts our work, our personal life and our general well being. That feeling of not wanting to wait around for things and just getting on with it, whilst typically also being frustrated that things are taking such a desperately long time.
Yet the additional quandary is I am impatient but also a perfectionist.
A combination that can be challenging.
It must be right but it must also be done quickly.
I think as children patience can be more measured, I was always taught that “I want, doesn’t get” so being patient on the everyday work didn’t seem all that much of an imposition. Yet as we get old and the thirst to do more and for things to happen faster increases 10 fold.
As we grow older, life and circumstances can test our patience immeasurably.
Patience to wait for appointments. To wait for outcomes. To wait for exams. Job interviews etc.
I don’t like that I have to wait for those things but that is just life. I have to learn to be patient. Sometimes for months, or years.
I became so eager of the future, so impatient to get there, that I forgot the present. It was only looking back on that time critically in therapy that I realised that and it was a lightbulb moment.
That patience (or lack of) had had an impact on my choices, my communications and decisions in such a way it had led to my own unhappiness. That instead of addressing those issues in a measured way I had hurtled towards the end goal knocking every sign post over on the way.
I wasn’t being patient with myself. With grief and with anything my path throws at me but more fearing I was not where I should be and impatient to make up the miles to get there.
It is so easy to be completely overwhelmed by everything but a little patience or reflection gives time for perspective. I think I have learnt that more now for the bigger things rather than the little.
Always thinking to myself if I don’t do this now will it hurt anyone? will it hurt me? If the answer to both of those is no, then walk away and be your best rebellious impatient self for a moment.
Patience is a work in progress. But one I am more mindful of and more aware of…even if my impatience does still get the better of me a lot of the time.