Letting go of Impatience

I wrote this earlier this year. Just came across it. I’m definitely a lot more patient now, but I think this is one of my constitutional challenges!

Impatience is one of my habitual states. On the plus side, I get a lot done! Unfortunately, this habitual aura colour colours my experience of life in a negative way, so the sooner I identify the beliefs that contribute to that state, the sooner I can begin to shift it.

We can do this exercise together, so I can share the process with you. To begin with, I’m noticing that when I feel impatient, my focus is fixated on the future. When I notice that, I remind myself how often I shy away from the past. I’m also noticing that my fixation on the future stops me from relaxing into the moment and really enjoying it. Next, I recognise that the restless impatient feeling is a habit, an addiction; it’s familiar and comfortable for me. I deliberately start to change the way I feel and add words to this new feeling to help me anchor it in.

I relax my body, smile and look around. I evoke a positive, calm feeling and say to myself ‘I love being present in the current moment. Everything is perfect just as it is.’ I listen to my body as I say this and breathe through any tension. As I relax, I notice an empty, bored feeling inside me. This evokes two realisations. One, that I’m addicted to excitement and the future always holds bucket loads of exciting promise. In my mind at least. Two, that I have this incredible world around me right now that I’m not really exploring to its fullest extent. My excitement about the future is wonderful and I don’t want to squash it, I just need to balance it.

When I really stop and pay attention to all the feelings, I recognise my tendency to push the river of life with anxiety, as though the things I’m dreaming up for the future might not come about. When I let go and smile and reconnect with the world around me now, I start to tap into a different belief. A belief that everything is perfect just as it is and the future will unfold in its own good time, whether I push on it or not. The impatience, from this perspective, feels rather like a child having a tantrum because the sun isn’t coming up as quickly as she wants it to. In other words, it’s an unnecessary waste of energy.

So my new beliefs, that I will practice, go something like this: When I let go and relax, things flow more smoothly and I enjoy myself more. I don’t need to waste energy getting worked up about when things are going to happen. Instead, I can exercise faith. At the same time, I can let go of the outcome, and my fixation on ‘when’. I choose to live graciously, rather than impatiently. Ah, now that last statement has really grabbed me. I can use that as my new mantra to remind me of my observations in this moment. I really like the word gracious, because it evokes an image and feeling of elegance. It’s certainly more attractive to me than the word patience!

What about you? Do you tend to cling to the past or the future? In my endeavour to melt into the present moment with ‘elegance’ I not only need to let go of the future and the past, I need to be at peace with them. And so often, this is exactly the work we are all doing. Finding ways to come to peace with the future, the past, the now moment, ourselves, other people and so on. We have limited control over other people, what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future. Coming to peace with what we have limited control over helps us conserve energy and focus on what we can control. Such as our perspective. I cannot control when or how the future will unfold so my impatience is a waste of valuable energy. Rather than waste energy, I can accept that everything will come to be as and when it is meant, and get on with diving into my present moment with glee!