I’ve had a refrigerator magnet for 35 years which reads, “God grant me patience, but please hurry!” Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s how patience works. In that 35 years, though, I have learned a measure of patience.
What I have come to understand is the basis for my impatience. If I believe that something is not going to work out the way I want it to, I have a hard time holding myself back from stepping into the process, feeling that I need to micromanage. I step back in, and force a speedy result. Yes, I get a result, but it is almost never what I want it to be.
If instead, I believe that I have done all that I can do to have something happen, with positive expectation that it’s going to work out well, it’s easier to stand back and let the process play out, to its natural end. Hence, learned patience.
I’ve found that I can do this with others better than I can do it with myself. With others, I know that their parts will take some time, as did mine; with me I feel like there’s always more I could do to make something happen. It seems like I have more confidence in others than in my own self… I’m working on that, too.
I have a natural tendency to be very linear. It is often hard for me not to fixate on the next incomplete step in a process. If it’s mine to do, I ruminate about how to do it, tossing it over and over in my mind. I can get so stuck that I cannot even see that there are other subsequent steps that are mine to do that I could do while I’m waiting for someone else to do their part. I used to fret and fume when I had to wait longer than expected, especially if it’s passed the promised delivery time. The trap I would set with others was to ask them to tell me how long something should take. If it went passed that time, I acted very righteous. No one likes that, I’ve found. It was not a productive strategy.
Marc Chagall puts it well: “If I create from my heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”
More heart… I like that!