Impatience Is a Cruel Friend… (here’s a lasting solution)
I Need to Go Faster!
I was laughing with a client this week about her impatience at how long something was taking.
Why does it need to take them so long to send me XX report!
There was a resignation, though, in her frustration, and a slight amusement. She knew that giving in to the impatience was not the way to speed things up.
Which is how it is for many of us. We live in what seems like an ‘instant’ society, where we can go online and find out anything at the click of a button, have our deliveries the next day, or even sooner in some parts of the world.
And for what? It doesn’t seem to make us happier. Nor is it usually very effective at getting others to respond to our frantic demands!
What if it’s taking as long as it needs to take?
I replied to my client. Although, as is often the case when we talk to others, we are also talking to ourselves.
You’ll hear people say, ‘take a breath, slow down and tell yourself to be patient.’ All fine and good for the person who said it, but it can be heard (at least to me!) like trying to talk myself into something I don’t believe. Sure, I can do that — or at least try — but it feels like I’m going against the grain of what’s true.
We chewed around on what we both saw in the phrase for a while and talked about why ‘slowing down to the speed of life’ (or speeding up to the speed of life!) is a different way to look at things.
If it’s true that there is an inherent speed, and we can go with it, or we can fight it, then fighting it with our metaphorical shouting and beating our fists is doing nothing other than raising our own blood pressure.
A deeper place to look, I find, is to look at where my fundamental well-being comes from. To look at how I dance with life, and where my experience comes from.
For my client, the report she was waiting for looked as if it affected the well-being of her team.
This project is what’s going to fund all our salaries for the next three years!
she told me.
And, sure, it could look as if there was some consequence to having, or not having that information and having, or not having the funding.
But consequence isn’t the same thing as well-being; it isn’t the same thing as happiness, security, and our fundamental capacity to take action. That we have in shed-loads! And nothing in our circumstances can take it away.
Report or no report, my client laughed.
Oh yes, I get it. We’re actually OK whatever. I mean really OK!
We paused to reflect on what that meant and what it would open up for us if it was true, really true, not just something to see ‘intellectually’.
I have no doubt she was going to chase the report, and would take whatever actions occurred to her when she got the information about the future of the project. But she left our session with a feeling of lightness, being able to see that.
Impatience is the feeling associated with your experience in a single moment. It isn’t telling you anything about you, or your circumstances, or other people. It diverts you from clarity, freedom and creativity. It blocks you from the experience of knowing that life is to be lived, not to be suffered.
If you choose to take a breath, it’s not to convince yourself to be patient, it’s to allow the cloud of emotion to clear so you can see the deeper truth.