Why Impatience Is SO Bad For You
Impatience is so bad for you.
It is one of the most seductive emotional states.
It is a great way to make life more difficult and relationships challenging.
Impatience is like playing a child’s game of bumper cars with real life and adult consequences.
Worshipping At The Altar Of Speed
I find the adoration of speed in our culture to be curious.
When I am going fast, I stop thinking.
Speed demands focus on the task at hand and so it cannot be a time to contemplate what you are doing.
To be truly effective at warp speed, you need to have contemplated, evaluated and assessed your intended actions before you engage in them,
Does our cultural speedfest really allow for that?
In my opinion, no.
Speed For Conquest
When the speed of daily life is ramped up, there are consequences. One of them is what happens with our attention and intention.
When we function at a slower pace, we spend time contemplating what we are doing, what we want to do, and what we need to do.
We think about the implications of our actions, the alternative courses of action and the possibilities that our choices present.
We can own our intention.
When we have to go faster something has to give. What gives is usually the way we direct our attention.
A high speed life makes us more task oriented and more focused on the short-term.
That means that we delegate the long term to others. In doing so we disempower ourselves.
Faster living means that we have been made one down almost like objects or parts on a conveyor belt. We are the wheels on the bumper cars and someone else is doing the driving.
Our attention has to be elevated but we have lost our intention in the process.
Impatience Is Controlling
Moving at high speed means that there is not a lot of time for considering our purpose and agendas. Our attention is usually directed to working off items on our to-do lists. The really important stuff of life usually does not make our list and so without realizing it, our lives stop being our own.
We are living in speed, even in a state of perpetual emergency.
When you are in an emergency you do not have time to stop and ask why, you simply have to deal with it.
Someone else has set the priorities. While we think we are making choices, we are really filling in the blanks in a sentence created by someone else.
Observe impatient people. They are masters at making something wrong with you if you are not performing as they expect you to, or are not busy enough as if your busyness was a sign of your goodness.
How Impatience Took Us Over
Impatience is important as a social tool. It used to be that we aligned ourselves with nature. Our lives depended on an effective interaction with the source of our nourishment – the physical world we live in.
Nature is slow and always in process. It is interdependent. We have to work with and learn from nature. Imposing our will usually does not work vey well.
With the Industrial Revolution and the development of machines, markets took over from nature and became the center of our lives. We were diminished as was nature, simply servants of the market system.
The machine became almighty. We became dependent on:
- the political machine
- the machines of government
- the machines of finance
- the machines of war
- mechanized business.
A machine doesn’t see you or relate to you.
You have to keep up with it, bend to it, and support it. This is why in spite of all the improvements in our living conditions, most of us feel an unspeakable loss. We never had it so good or so bad.
Taking Our Lives Back
Slowing down is the beginning of taking your life back.
It helps to see the mechanized structures of our lives as detrimental to intentional living, and look for ways to be as present as possible to all aspects of our lives.
We are not here to serve some machine.
We are here to live fully.
The impatient life of markets takes so much from us. Letting go of it, being willing to be without it as much as possible restores you to a right relation with your own life.
It’s worth doing.
It’s a great place to be.
This is absolutely true, Maria. Coming back to our own tempos (tempi?) isn’t always easy though. When I was a toddler, I couldn’t handle my own impatience, and neither could my mother (who wasn’t well), and I remember being taken to the doctor at the age of five, who said I was very sensitive. Unfortunately there were members of my family who believed that the way to deal with sensitive children was to bully and torment them. So I’m having to learn to help myself now, in my sixties, with my impatience, and with the effects of my childhood, and it ain’t easy!
Helping children with their emotions, and particularly, perhaps, sensitive ones, is of paramount importance.
I know what you mean about the bullying. Sensitivity is misunderstood and treated as a “problem” that we can internalize those negative ideas about ourselves. I am glad that you are working on it. You have to release the negativity bit by bit and your goodness will become increasingly apparent to you which is the upside. So keep going!
Thank you, Maria. The fact that we have the internet now, with so much more information and sharing of experiences than before, and new therapies, such as tapping, being developed, means that life is so much more hopeful for many of us. Ideas which were once scorned and dismissed are more and more accepted. It’s brilliant.
What a great way of looking at it. I agree that life is becoming more hopeful with all the new therapies that are available. I am also glad that alternative health is being rediscovered.
All the best,
Maria, thanks for a great article!!
– When surrounded by business, bosses, projects, and the ‘bottom line’; articles like this help remind me to breath and of the important things in life.
I am glad the article helped. Our world is so ridiculously fast paced and overfocused on measurements and the bottom line as you say that is it very hard to take that deep breath and stay centered and present.
All the best,
Excellent read. I often lament the lack of patience our society has. Living life at 100km per hour is expected and heavily glorified,that is why nobody has time to really listen to anybody else anymore. It really is a shame we’ve become so disconnected from nature.
I agree – being in nature is a wonderful antidote to the fast life.