The P Word

Patience…UGH! No, no, no. Open Mindedness.

“Good things come to those who wait.”

“Patience, young grasshopper.”

“Patience is a virtue.”

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you’re waiting.”

“A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret.”

“When you pray for patience, God will be sure to give you plenty of opportunities.”

 

Have you heard any of these before? Do you have any of your own “patient” sayings?

My younger sister told me just last night that “Learning patience takes patience.”

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I told her “Learning English requires knowing English.” The argument was moot (or “moo, a cow’s opinion”).

I’ve been struggling with patience for…well my whole life. I am right on the cusp of the “Now” generation. I need instant gratification, instant results. I have no desire to wait.

However, for some odd reason, lately, my impatience has culminated to an unbearable point. Anytime I am in a situation that requires patience, my mom, so gently coos to me, “Patience, young grasshopper.” She likes to throw in the “young grasshopper” in as if to cushion the blow of the P word.

My response has since become an exasperated eye roll via text message, and the word has made its way onto my “unmentionable word” list. I am just so tired of THIS word.

Patient, as an adjective, according to Dictionary.com, means “bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.”

Ok, the definition makes sense; it’s logical, but that doesn’t mean I care for it. The part of the definition stating that a person has to bear that misfortune or a particular situation without becoming angry or complaining, or “the like”, which would include, from my understanding, irritation, frustration, eye rolling, anxiety, depression, outbursts of any kind, seriously perturbs me.

This idea of patience without a negative reaction goes against the idea that negative feelings are in fact valid. We, as humans, are allowed and should feel every emotion including the negative ones. I don’t think that we are meant to maintain a positive demeanor all the time, including when we are waiting for something to happen or not happen.

After talking with a friend about patience, we have decided that from here on out, we will refer to patience as OPEN MINDEDNESS.

She reminded me that patience is not an absolute; that I may not have patience with myself, but I may possess an abundant amount of patience with my students (which in fact I do). I am extremely patient with their ability to understand certain concepts. Grammar, for example, throws some of my students for a loop, especially when I start telling them that a gerund is a verb acting as a noun.

It is easy for me to be patient with them; at the end of the year I can show them their progress of how much grammar they understood when they entered my classroom compared to how much they understood when they leave.

Why is this easy for me?

I think it is because I don’t physically have to feel their struggles and insecurities regarding learning. I just see the results.

I think this is what Vincent Carlos meant on his post Success Requires Patience. He talked about how individuals give up on dreams of greatness because the struggle is too much. We constantly compare ourselves with someone who is already 20 chapters further in their life. We didn’t watch all of their struggles. We didn’t physical see them work day end and day out to accomplish what they wanted. We just saw the results.

And so instead of being patient with ourselves and continuing to put in the effort, we give up. Or at least that is what I have done. I become frustrated and angry, I roll my eyes, I complain, blah, blah, blah. So, by being open minded, I am allowing myself to step out of my own shoes for a moment to see my struggle as if it was someone else’s struggle. I then am able to ask myself, how “patient” would I be with this person?

Let me be clear, this is no easy concept for me. I am a naturally pessimistic person who has been pushing against patience my entire life. But in those rare moments when I allow my mind to be patient or open, the relief is immense.

I believe I will have to practice being patient…I mean open minded for the rest of my life. It will not come easy for me. I will have to be open minded about being open minded…

Huh? Maybe my sister was right.

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4 thoughts on “The P Word

  1. I too lack pati…open mindedness when I’m building something. I’m normally open minded with most everything or everyone else. This is something I work on all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

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