“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”/steve
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I was completing my Master’s degree and working to become a counselor, I had a professor who gave us an assignment to look over a list of emotional responses we needed to work on in our own life.
I initially thought that alienating others or withholding deep feelings may be the route to take. I became antsy over the list and did not feel comfortable with either one of my initial choices. I keep telling myself I wish I could hurry up and make up my mind.
Then, it dawned on me why I was feeling so anxious about the choice. Did I have to catch a train? This made me contemplate the emotions and reactions I had during the choosing process and I began to wonder if what I really needed to work on was my impatience.
Events in my life at the time would suggest making anyone anxious but what about the effects of being impatient also have on the following:
• Loss of 40 years old family business and stress of supporting my family
•Ex-mother-in-law with a deepening loss of memory from Alzheimer’s
• Ex-wife struggling with alcohol addiction
•Going back to school at 50 years old and wondering if I could still learn
•Raising two teenage sons
Looking deeper into my struggle with impatience, I concluded that this issue had been mine longer than I thought. Yes, recent events had made me anxious, impatient for quick answers to difficult problems and generally on edge but there is more to it than that.
Looking back, I had for as long as I could remember, wanted quick answers, wanted instant equilibrium in life and generally despised dangling issues hanging around.
What made a second grade boy so nervous about division that I spent more time worrying about how others were doing (picking concepts of division much faster than me) than listening for cues from my teacher?
Why did a 5th grade boy become so impatient in wanting to be accepted I lingered in joining sports teams (that I loved to do) because I was afraid of failure? Why did I right out of high school need to get married? What makes a graduate of a major university (Michigan State) who majors in history/psychology and receives his teaching license go back to a family-owned business I loathed?
Was it because I was impatient in gaining monetary security rather than going out on my own and taking a risk, settling for being less than I knew I could be? I have been all along striving for relieving my impatience of being who I thought I needed to be but in the meantime, not taking the proper patient steps to get were I really want to go and be who I really am.
I am, as Jeremy Taylor once stated: “No one is poor who does not think they are, however, if in prosperity with impatience they desire more and proclaims their wants they disclose their beggarly condition.”
For an impatient person, nothing is more important than our issues being addressed without delay. I also have a tendency to anticipate the worst in a situation and if the situation was not addressed promptly, I projected blame away from me and to others.
Techniques of Self Preservation
Being impatient can also lead to using some other unpleasant techniques of self preservation: distorting feedback from others, denying the truth and taking things out of context.
On the external side, being impatient leads to inappropriate comments, acting before analyzing the right path to follow, arguing for the sake of arguing and worst of all, becoming so impatient as to lose context and meaning to a loving relationship.
The increased stress led me to follow with symptoms: high blood pressure, poor sleeping habits, negative thoughts, blaming others and reduction in exercise which led to being out of shape.
Living within the high level of stress, I began to isolate with depressive thoughts, internalize loneliness which allowed me to withdraw from friends. Ways of trying to pacify myself led to impulsive buying – a mechanism of filling immediate desires that could be selfish in nature.