An Exercise in Patience

One of the many things that I’ve learned over the years is the following: no one likes being in that “in-between” position.

Say what?

Yup, that “in-between” position. For example, the gap of time between jobs (more specifically going through the hiring process); the cooling off period during a serious run between the sheets; that final stretch in closing on purchasing a house or car; the week before moving; the waiting period for the good news that a loved one will be OK while in the hospital. These are all pretty vulnerable times and we cannot wait to just blast through them to get to our desired outcome.

What’s so significant about working through these moments? It’s all about managing those feelings that get kicked up. The fear, the anxiety, the nervousness are big ones, but not the only feelings we experience. We constantly cycle through these feelings: “what could I have done differently?” “Am I doing the right thing?” “Does my partner like what’s going on?” “What if the offer falls through?”

All of those are legitimate questions. If we step back and examine the grand scheme of things, human beings have come a far way to be able to exert some solid semblance of control over an environment that is planet Earth which is quite dangerous and unforgiving. But it’s when that sense of uncertainty…the loss of control…that tugs on our primal instincts in moments like these were we often can freak the F out and feel very helpless.

So what do we do? How do we reset and trust the process?

Well, it’s easier said than done. I’d argue that the first thing to do is acknowledge the emotion you’re experiencing. You’re feeling what you’re feeling because the situation matters to you greatly. Even if it makes seem trivial to someone else, it matters to you. Sometimes, we can get too caught up in justifying an entire approach. While there are certain elements of a situation that are up for discussion, people’s feelings shouldn’t be. You feel what you feel and those feelings should be acknowledged and respected.

Remembering that those feelings are based in our inherent nature to see if what we are doing is the “best fit”, the next step may be to figure out what those feelings are speaking towards. Sometimes that sinking feeling of a mistake is in fact accurate…sometimes the mistake is how that sinking feeling is interpreted. We make mistakes thinking we’re fixing problems that ultimately we’re never there before we decided to “intervene” with our “solutions”.

The rest of it is a matter of follow through on one’s own process…checking in with the other person or reviewing the plan and making adjustments wherever appropriate. The hardest thing is riding the emotional wave in those moments. My guess is contemporary society has been emphasizing the need to only respond in certain situations using a more limited set of emotions.

I’d never claim that doing this in the moment is easy…I’ve not trusted my own process and paid the price for it. But, therr have been times i did step back and that was the correct call to  do. Patience isn’t always about sitting passively. Sometimes, stepping back and working one’s own process is the most patient play to make, especially when in any of life’s most turbulent situations.


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