Dealing With Impatience: The Big Stuff

Big Stuff

Yesterday, I talked about some strategies to handle impatience around little things that get you riled. Like your kid not listening to you. Or someone walking slowly in front of you in the grocery store. Today, I want to talk about what you can do BESIDES get impatient when you’re waiting for something big to happen. Something that affects the realities of your life. Like waiting to hear back from a job interview. 

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I’ve got a two-step strategy you can use to channel your energy so that you don’t just sit there and stew in your growing impatience:

First: Take care of your business.

Byron Katie, creator of what’s known as The Work, teaches that there are three types of business in the world. Your business, which is anything you have control over. Other people’s business. And God’s business. And mostly, timing is God’s business. So when you’re feeling impatient about something that’s not in your control, focus on taking care of your own business. 

If you’re getting impatient with your husband because he’s not doing some household project that you want him to do; do some household project that you can do on your own. If your kid isn’t getting her school work done in time, make sure you’re turning in your work on time. Doing so shifts your energy out of frustration and wanting to make someone do something they clearly don’t feel like doing. Which, let’s face it, only makes them dig in their heels more. 

Also, the most important way we influence people is through our example, and not our words. Take care of your business and then share authentically with the person you wish would get going — “I turned something in today and I feel so good to have it over with.” Hey, it’s not manipulative if it’s authentic. And it can’t be authentic if you don’t actually take care of your own business. 

Second: Once you’ve done that, do what Anne Lamott refers to as putting it in God’s in-box.

Meaning, write the situation that’s vexing you down on a piece of paper and then do something with it that symbolizes that it is officially off your plate and now on God, or the universe’s plate. This could mean putting that piece of paper into an actual box in your house, a hole in the ground, or even a natural body of water (I once wrote a letter and then tore it up into tiny pieces and threw it in the Hudson river–it helped). Doing this helps not carry it around constantly. And that shifts your energy. 

Now, this is a little woo but I’ve experienced it or witnessed it working too many times not to absolutely believe in it, and this is: Shifting your energy around whatever is creating impatience in you will help it resolve more efficiently. I can’t say more quickly, because, timing’s not our business, but definitely more clearly, because you’ll be less likely to rush in and do something that only mucks up the process. 

So that’s your two-step strategy for the big sources of impatience:

Do something to take care of your business, and put the thing you’re impatient about into a God’s inbox. Your tiny assignment is to write those two steps down somewhere you can find it again when you need it. And if you need it now, then your tiny assignment is to do one thing to take care of your business and one thing to show that you’re putting the outcome in God’s inbox. 

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