Image by Jake Campbell
Patience is a virtue they say. So is impatience a vice?
Welcome to the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise between 5 and 6 am, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s prominent. I have a bunch of article ideas saved, so I’ll either pull from them or write something new. I also write at larrygmaguire.com. I hope you enjoy the read.
I’m not blessed with patience. Never have been if I am honest.
When I get uneasy about my circumstances I have to do something about it right there. If I don’t then it becomes irritable, then intolerable, then I become intolerable.
The result has been I become very difficult to work with, and when it happens in the home environment it causes damage to my relationships with my wife and children.
Lack of patience has been to my advantage over the years, especially for the business in which I operated. The construction industry is a tough game to play and this lack of patience for circumstances and people who didn’t perform worked to my benefit.
Although not so much now that I’m moving away from it.
Watching It Happen
I can feel impatience rising in me. It’s like there’s a part of me standing aside from it looking in, watching it all happen. It’s like a slow motion car crash.
Previously I would have stood firm.
“This is how I am, take it or leave it. I’m not changing my mind for anyone. This is how I want this done and if you don’t like it then off you go”.
This uncompromising approach worked on building sites but it doesn’t work at home. It leads to conflict and at best, an unpleasant atmosphere.
Uptight, agitated and impatient doesn’t get the best out of me either from a writing perspective. How could it?
So something’s got to change.
What Patience Is Not
Some of us believe that patience is to put up with something we don’t like until we do like it. In the meantime we’re supposed accept that it’s some kind of honor to endure it.
We think we should put up with uncongenial circumstances for as long as it takes and ignore how shitty it makes us feel. Suffer in silence we’re told. Be like JC we’re told.
We have this drilled into us from the time we are kids, handed down from our older wiser ones. These people know better than us so we should listen, right?
As I told my mother recently;
“If all anyone ever did was listen and do what we are told by the older and ‘wiser’ ones that came before us, nothing would ever change”.
However, we can’t keep it down forever, it comes back and often with a bang. In my particular case the solution to getting what I wanted was to curl up my brow, deliver a hard stare, offer some harsh words and insist that it is done my way.
Of course, this means of dealing with things has a limited positive impact despite receiving applause and assurance from others that my methods were right and proper.
Applause from others can bring acceptance to all kinds of behavior.
So let’s get this straight…
Patience is not about suffering difficult circumstances in silence.
Patience is not about fulfilling other people’s ideas of virtue.
Patience is not about waiting for some future event to arrive to make us happy.
Patience is not a show of weakness.
What Patience Is
Patience is the acceptance that there is no future, everything happens now.
Patience is remembering that behavior of others is none of our business.
Patience is remembering that we are in charge of how we feel.
Patience is knowing that everything that occurs comes out of now. Just like the past has come out of the present, the future comes out of the present also.
Patience is realising that we don’t need to get angry to make things change. We can use less energy and be happier on the journey if we accept things will change in their own time.
When It Comes To Our Children…
Patience is allowing our kids to develop on their own path without our overbearing insistence that they behave a certain way.
Patience is remembering that we gave our kids the blueprint, and if it is to change then we need to show them another way. Kids do what we do, not do as we say.
Yeah sure, we need to give them some direction but we don’t have to micro manage.
Some Work To Do
Everything I do is affected by my lack of patience.
I’ve tried to ignore that I am impatient, even rationalise my reaction by telling myself, I am how I am. But the bottom line is I’m not happy with how I react to certain things.
So yes, to answer the initial question; lack of patience is a vice. Despite the fact we know it really doesn’t serve us we continue to practice it. We’re almost compelled to.
But there comes a time when enough is enough. So there’s only one thing for it…
If I don’t like the coat I’m wearing then I have to buy a new one. I’ve got some work to do to move beyond this idea that I can growl at things I don’t like and expect them to change.
They might change short term, but long term I reap what I sow.
Especially when it comes to my kids.
That’s not how I want to be remembered.
The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.
Like Some More of This Kind of Thing?
Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art & creativity. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.