Sometimes we believe we have a lot more patience than we do. It is only when put to the test can we truly identify if we are lacking in this area. All the more important is the attitude we maintain when we are forced to wait. Are we calm and composed or irate and distracted? Do we overlook the feelings of others in pursuit of what we want?
I know, hands on heart that I do not have an overflow of patience and I am learning – often the hard way. As a teenager my mum always told me I needed to learn patience and I casually allowed her comments to run over me. The number of times she uttered “patience is a virtue” I do not know!
It is far easier to have little patience as a child and teenager as people almost expect it. As an adult a lack of patience is not welcomed. It is assumed our ‘people skills’ are more in tune and that our sense of awareness grows. But does it?
My husband always jokes that I act like I am on a mission. Even when on holiday/family breaks I struggle to take leisurely strolls and instead walk as if I have a train to catch. He holds my hands to slow me down. On the outside I smile and internally I feel irritated at not keeping at a faster pace.
Last week I walked down the high street and got stuck behind two women who slowly stolled side by side without a care in the world. I felt myself becoming agitated as I planned a way to get around or through them.
A few months ago at the end of our church service, an elderly woman stopped to speak to me. A part of me desired to rush off to meet my husband and collect our children from Sunday School. I then had a thought that perhaps this woman needed to talk, even if it was just general banter. We spoke for about 10 minutes. As we drove home I wondered if the woman was married or if she lived alone. I wondered if her only real communication with others took place at church. Whatever her circumstances she made me reflect on my actions and that is never a bad thing.
LAST Saturday morning I planned to drop my daughter to dance for two hours and return home to do some housework. We jumped into our car, I turned the key to discover the battery was dead – great timing! I sat for a moment and wondered what to do. My husband was in London at a meeting with the other car, my sister in-law was unavailable and my son was groggy with a flu virus. My daughter also missed dance the week before and needed to catch up with the dance routine.
I decided to order a taxi, drop my daughter to dance and wait for 1.5 hours. I was annoyed because A. I would be £15 out of pocket, B. I now needed to make myself presentable – usually I ‘drop and run’ so no need for any make up or matching clothes, C. A load of washing was in the machine waiting to be hung out.
As I sat typing this while my son sniffed and sneezed next to me, I realised that not everything will go according to plan. Life will throw you curveballs but we cannot afford to be beaten by them. As much as we plan, we need to work with an element of flexibility. If one is too rigid you leave yourself open to much disappointment.
I lived a life of rigidity and it was limiting and exhausting. I was constantly picking myself up from disappointment after disappointment. Whether my train was delayed or an appointment/event was cancelled, it left me feeling out of control.
Having control is learning to rise above circumstances which come to try you and throw your plans right out of the window. Having control is accepting we do not travel through life along one straight, neat road paved with flowers. The road bends and turns, moves up and down and can be ugly. In between those twists and turns we can choose to laugh and relish the good times. If we look closely, they are there!
PEOPLE like to feel a sense of belonging as we tend to thrive in such environments. Belonging contributes to us feeling wanted, cared for, important and valued. If our sense of belonging is questioned then we can easily lose who we are, the part we play, the impact we make and our overall significance in life.
Have you had a time in your life where you felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole? For whatever reason you were not accepted and embraced. You felt out of your depth – whether in a new job, project, friendship group or a change of family dynamics. If we are not careful we can waste too much energy looking at our inner man and trying to identify why we are not a good fit. We can analyse and tear apart our character, mannerism, personality to try to make sense of it all.
Dr Brene Brown is a top researcher on vulnerability and empathy. I recently watched her Ted Talk video on Youtube and highly recommend it! One of her quotes stood out to me;
“No-one belongs here more than you.”
Simple but powerful.
There are many who are acutely aware when they are not easily embraced, listened to, given recognition and as a result they are likely to merge into the background. I have seen it and lived it first hand, more so throughout my teenage years. I never felt a sense of belonging at secondary (high) school. It was like I did not get the script, did not easily gel with my peers, did not flow with the ‘street talk’. I felt out of place, awkward and came to a stage where I just stopped trying. It was liberating to finally not care who did or did not welcome me into their group. I was at peace with who I was; an introvert who thought far more than she spoke, had her own mind and did not compromise her values in order to be accepted.
I have learnt that self-acceptance is the key to us having a sense of belonging. Only when we first accept ourselves, ‘flaws and all’, are we confident to bring authenticity to any environment we find ourselves in.
Instead of walking into a room and wondering who will speak to us, why not walk into a room and wonder which person we would like to approach. Same situation, completely different mindset!
WE all enjoy being complimented, whether we are sporting a new hairstyle, outfit, or just delivered an outstanding presentation at our place of work. While it is feels great to receive compliments we step into dangerous territory when we begin to seek and live off of them. It can become like a terrible drug habit bringing high high’s and low low’s. I believe we give others far too much say over our lives if what they say and do (or not) has an impact on the way we perceive ourselves. We must be wary of granting others unnecessary control over us. The control may be unseen but it is very present in our minds.
There will be times in your life where you will have a hair cut or wear a new outfit and everyone you speak to that evening will fail to compliment you. It may be they simply have not noticed or have and are choosing to stay quiet. You know you have made an effort and feel confident in yourself so why do you require others to validate you? Surely what you think is placed on a higher standing than what others think of you!
There will be times in your life where colleagues will not appreciate the skill set you bring to your team or you will be overlooked for promotion. How would this affect your self-worth? Would you begin to question your skills and expertise when you previously knew you were more capable for the job and more?
Whilst taking on board the opinions and constructive criticism from others may assist with personal development, we need not allow it to shape our very being.
We should arrive at a stage in our life where we know who we are, like who we are and accept not everyone is able to ‘prop us up’. Whether they cannot or will not is irrelevant – the fact is they are unable to provide what you believe you need.
We can choose to compliment and be proud of ourselves. We can choose to control ‘our story’ rather than placing it into the hands of others.
What do you expect from others?
How did you feel when people were unable to meet your needs?
WE are all passionate about at least one thing in life. There is a subject matter that riles you up something chronic, whether for the good or bad. You could talk about this matter for hours and still fail to touch the surface. You may wonder why others are not equally as moved and even try and spur them on to no avail.
I am sure you can think of one friend or family member that once a topic comes up there is no stopping them! In fact you dread this particular topic being brought up as you just know where it will end!
One of my passions (I have at least three) is eradicating poverty. Poverty is responsible for so many wrongs in this world. Poverty causes people to take actions they would never ever have envisaged. Poverty means people are unlikely to have access to opportunities which would go on to enhance their lives. Poverty means children go to bed hungry, live in cold/damp conditions, are unlikely to step inside a theatre, own an item of clothing which is brand new, go on holiday whether in-country or abroad – the list is endless.
It saddens me that people, particularly children are living below the poverty line in a world where despite what we are being fed, there is more than enough to go around. For poverty to exist there must be inequality, extreme inequality.
One day I would like to:
1. Arrange a coach trip to take a group of disadvantaged parents and children to Hamleys in Oxford Street. Each child will choose one gift and we would all go onto a top restaurant.
2. Arrange a summer park event for the community comprising of dancers and singers, competitions, speakers and a limitless supply of hot and cold food.
Whether this money will come from my own finances or via a project fund, at this stage I do not know. What I do not know is if you want to do something badly enough, you will find a way.
What is your passion?
What plans do you have to make a difference?
When we look back in history, change often began with just one person.