You may have noticed that I haven’t posted as much this week as I normally do. This is because I have had kind of a crappy week this week, particularly at work, but also at home. I’ve been overwhelmingly busy for most of the week, and little frustrations have been cropping up all over the place and have been piling up into a big mound of angry-cranky-exhaustion. Things have calmed down, so I’m feeling much better now, and have the presence of mind to notice that a theme is developing. Basically what I’ve realized is, in the immortal words of Axl Rose, I “need a little patience.”
The topic first came up in relation to this post, when my friend Jessica commented that yoga is the only way in which she is patient with herself. To which I say “right on, sister.” I have found that I have good yoga patience as well, though I also tend to be impatient with myself in every other way. The topic came up between she and I again last night, and it got me thinking. First, that people who get impatient for results need to just keep working. Keep plodding onward. This is because if you keep working, it is probable that you’ll get some results sometime, even if they don’t come as quickly as you want them to. Whereas, if you do what I often do and quit working because results aren’t coming fast enough, you will never get any results. Pretty simple, right? Sometimes these big breakthroughs are so easy I could just smack myself for not getting them before!
The next thing that I got to thinking in relation to patience is that maybe I am not just impatient with myself. I’ve written before about how bottled anger is one of my personal roadblocks in life. In the last year I’ve realized that a lot of that anger has been due to living too much of my life based on other people’s ideas for me. In the past year I’ve made a lot of progress on taking back my life from the constructs that were built for me when I was a kid. It has done A LOT for my general well-being. I don’t carry around an internal fountain of hurt and outrage any more. However, I am still prone to flashes of temper that can spoil days at a time. These little tantrums don’t seem based in ongoing adversity like they used to be. They’re not pity parties. Since I was thinking about patience anyhow, I thought , “huh, maybe a big chunk of anger in my life has to do with a general lack of patience.” Hmmm…let’s examine this.
I thought about all the things that pissed me off in the last week; the things that made this a bad week. Lo and behold, all items had to do with impatience, mostly impatience with other people’s quirks. Don’t get me wrong; I think there’s a fine line of respect that people need to walk when working together or co-creating anything in this world, whether it’s a project for work, or a lifetime together. Everyone has their own style, and partnerships of any kind move along more smoothly when each person respects the other one’s style. However, there are also some resources involved that each person brings to the table. Time, money, energy, etc. One needs to have respect for the other person’s resources as well. Respect for style and respect for resources needs to be balanced, and all players need to contribute to that balance.
I’ve been realizing this week that maybe my scale for this type of balance is a little wonky. There are some situations where I think annoyance, AKA impatience, is valid. When a person’s personal style is quickly draining my resources, usually time, that person is not respecting me. In that case, the imbalance is on them. I am thinking here about projects that take twice as long as they should due to some lack of skill on another person’s part. In those cases, if my partner is not acknowledging the problem, it’s probably more constructive for me to do the hard thing and point it out to them than it is to just be passive aggressive and get pissed off. That way we can make a plan to compensate for it in the future. Or, I can acknowledge that the person’s style is just different than mine and set limitations; such as, “I can spend this much time on this;” and then stick to it.
On the other had, I know that I also need to be more reasonable about what is an actual drain on my resources. For example, my personal expectations aren’t necessarily the same as a deadline. If I ask my husband to do a load of laundry, just to get it done, it’s not the end of the world if, for some reason, he doesn’t do it right away. This is not a valid reason for me to get pissed off; if I do, I’m just irritated about his general way of doing things. It’s not cool to get mad at people just because they don’t do things how I would do them. However, if I say “Honey, can you please do this, it needs to get done by this time for this reason,” and it still doesn’t happen, that is probably a valid reason to get annoyed (unless there was a really good reason why he couldn’t do it). In either case, I’ve been realizing that even if it seems like an issue is primarily the other person’s fault, there are always things that I can do to avoid frustration. My first response shouldn’t always be to get angry.
So, in short, patience is a virtue that does not come naturally to me. It’s just one more thing that I need to keep noticing and working on in order to clear up more space in my being for the good stuff in life!