A writer for the Washington Post interviewed author Roz Chast about coping with her aging parents. When asked what Chast would have done differently, her simple but profound response was, “I wish I had been more patient.”
I wish I had been more patient with my mother too. Years of being on call 24/7 because of her failing health was exhausting and frightening and contributed to my impatience. Nursing staff assumed that because I was clinical psychologist, I had all the insightful answers for her behavioral problems. I didn’t.
Impatience robs you of the present moment and it disrespects those with whom you interact. It says, “I’m more important than you and there are other things I’d rather be doing, I’m probably smarter and more competent too.” Impatience is arrogance, the antithesis of kindness. It does not feel good on the receiving end, nor for the sender. Which feels better, patience or impatience?
Frustration is also an opportunity for empathy toward others and inner serenity for yourself. Agitation can be transformed in an instant. Practice this if you find yourself being impatient with service personnel, employees, acquaintances, or those you love. Inhale, long exhale. Stop thinking about yourself and all the tasks for the day and find a way to enhance the interpersonal communication within that immediate interaction. Listen more, talk less. It is entirely your choice whether or not you want to improve the present moment.