What popped into your head when you read the title of this week’s blog post? Did you feel calm and settled? Or did you want to snap back and say “no, YOU be patient!”? I’ve had both reactions, which I am now deeming totally normal, so there’s no judgement on my side if you felt the latter.
I remember being told to “be patient” since I was a little girl. “Why do you want to grow up so fast? Enjoy your childhood while you can.” was the way it typically came out. Usually, I’d be so frustrated about something (can you believe so and so said this? Or can you believe I only got an A- on this paper instead of an A? *yes I was that girl that complained about getting an A-*) that people’s only reaction to me would be “Kels, just be patient”.
I am the perfect combination of drive and stubbornness, so when someone flat out says “be patient” or hints at it, I instantly want to do the opposite. The second I hear those words I want to fly the by the seat of my pants and figure out what I need to do than sit quietly and watch the clock go around. My reaction is almost as if someone told me “You can’t do this”.
I had a moment a few years ago, amidst a super confusing and change-filled time, where I reflected back on this knee-jerk instinct I have when being told to “be patient”. I wondered, “why can’t I just be patient? Why can’t I just let things happen and ride out the wave?”. I was actually really hard on myself about this. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just let life happen like everyone else around me seemed to be able to. It eventually became something I felt like I needed to practice. Something would trigger frustration or suffering, and I’d remind myself to just be patient, accept what’s going on, and try and move forward.
It was the worst.
I couldn’t do it!! Trying to convince myself to be patient was so against who I am and what I believe in! Life is way too short to be patient with something that doesn’t make you happy or bring you joy! Now, I do believe patience is a necessary part of life. It is embedded in our culture’s manners - be patient, wait your turn, raise your hand, wait to be called on, hold the door while someone else walks through it, etc. It has a time and a place but it definitely does not have a time and a place in my heart when I am not fulfilled!
And then my perspective changed again.
When I realized my calling was coaching, I suddenly became this sage-calm-ultra-patient person. I went from coming up empty handed every time I dipped into my patience piggy bank to having so much of it I literally don’t know what to do with myself. What I couldn’t figure out is - what changed? Why can I all of a sudden be told to be patient, tell myself to be patient, and actually practice being patient??
It is because I am now living on-purpose. There is a direct correlation between my lack of patience and my life’s purpose. The more clear I was on my purpose, the more patience I had in my reserves. One of my greatest values is living on purpose with purpose and before I was able to do so, I couldn’t accept patience as an answer. My knee jerk reactions and drive toward the “answer” to my frustration and suffering were all coming from my heart’s desire of getting to my purpose. It was like a V8 juice moment “No shit you get frustrated when people tell you to be patient - WHY would you (why should you!) want to be patient with something that doesn’t make you happy or leave you feeling fulfilled?”.
Now, I do recognize there’s a fine line between having patience and inactivity. You can’t only practice patient and wait quietly for life to happen. Nor can you only go-go-go all of the time. It’s a tango between the two.
If you’re reaction today, to being told to be patient is kicking and screaming with all of your might, I urge you do three things:
Listen to what your heart is really trying to tell you. It’s probably saying “don’t settle, keep going”. And really, that’s my parting message for you today… Please don’t settle
Seek after what will make you most fulfilled like a bat out of hell. You deserve it, and you certainly don’t deserve to have to sit and wait for fate to knock on your front door (cause guess what, fate couldn’t knock if it wanted to because it doesn’t have hands!).
If the previous to-do’s are too grand at this time, next time you feel impatient, stop for a few moments and just be with the feeling. See what comes up. See what reveals itself to you in sitting with the impatience.