A friend of mine recently noted how irritable people are while they wait for coffee at Starbucks. Coffee is now a necessary source of fuel used to power us through our busy days. It’s lost its reputation as an excuse to connect with friends. These days it’s a means to an end and no one better delay the goal of putting that caffeinated nectar to our lips. If there is the slightest mistake made by the barista or the line is moving too slowly, caffeine-deprived negativity spills out. The aromas of agitation and impatience tinge the air.
Remember taking a coffee break?
The rural suburb we moved into nine years ago for its excellent school district and perfect combination of neighborhood and nature, has exploded. The population is ballooning and the lifestyle has an edgy competitiveness to it now that I didn’t feel in the beginning.
Just like when I lived in Chicago, I now have to frequently deal with traffic, lines at Target and waiting to use machines at the gym.
A state of low-grade annoyance
These are decidedly first world problems but they unpleasantly affect us nonetheless. I believe this unpleasantness exists in much of the world. Thanks to crowds, technology’s infinite reach and a constant perceived time pressure, the undercurrent of our culture is impatience and it pervades our existence. The emphasis on speed and productivity pushes our pace and causes low tolerance for taking it slow and easy. We don’t have time or patience for smelling the roses (or coffee). Patience requires willpower and willpower is finite. This chronic state of low-grade annoyance affects our energy and the way we treat others. As introverts, this is a drain we may not even notice but it’s there every day quietly depleting our precious reserves.
Writer and musician, Andy Mort, of Sheep Dressed Like Wolves did a fascinating interview with nature-based coach and MBA, Maria Hill, of HSPHealth (Highly Sensitive Person Health) in his site’s Members Haven.
In the interview with Maria Hill titled, The Impact of a Fast and Competitive Society on Our Health and Well Being, she talks about impatience. She says impatience turns everything into an emergency and stops things from naturally evolving. We put the goal first and focus on moving our agenda forward no matter how that affects others. It can make a simple task adversarial.
Andy brought up how impatience affects the creative process. He gave the example of creating a song. He said we stop looking at the process and cut to the end product even if that means emulating someone else’s successful work to get there faster. Maria noted that this is how we lose our unique voice.
All of this is enough to make us want to duck out of circulation but that never-ending desire for space and solitude that introverts and sensitives have is not expected or all that respected by society, so we trudge along, our intolerance increasing and our energy and authenticity decreasing.
Maria Hill thinks this demanding pace and simmering agitation brought on by competition, crowds, accessibility and technology is not sustainable. I agree.
How to get out of this state of impatience?
My kids consider a musical artist dead if they have not produced a new album or single in the last six months. I remember when it took bands/musicians years to put out a new album.
Today if you don’t keep yourself current and constantly in front of your audience you perish. Your audience is impatient. Your audience can easily move on to one of the other million distractions vying for their attention. Constant change and quick production feels mandatory and urgent. But it’s not. We created that paradigm. We can unlearn the habits and beliefs that led to our short attention spans and lack of appreciation for the process. We can unlearn our habit of hurrying.
Who better to lead others to a place of grace and reflection?
I believe sensitive introspectives are perfectly poised to guide others to the sacred world of appreciation and reflection.
An older wise woman once told me that my type (which happened to be hers as well) helps others filter and slow down. As sensitive introspective individuals, we constantly practice filtering and slowing down the amount of stimulation we allow into our consciousness. We do this by looking down the road to anticipate consequences that could affect our energy levels. We see the possibilities and do our best to direct them toward harmony and low stimulation. That may mean reducing our number of activities, especially if they involve people or work that go against our values and preference for deep internal processing. Saying No to others often means saying Yes to ourselves.
We don’t have to conform to everyone else’s irritation and fast pace. We can pull away and focus on gratitude or solitude. We aren’t afraid to stand alone. We can simply BE as opposed to always DOING.
We have a genuine desire to do meaningful work. We want to help people rather than be their adversaries. We do that by promoting harmony and peace rather than impatience. We share our penchant for one on one meaningful connections and for going within. We are communicators. We dare to be vulnerable so our stories resonate. We tell anyone who will listen about expanding in stillness and practicing kindness rather than competition.
All of these skills make us perfectly suited to help ourselves and others move beyond the snippy fragmented world of impatience and frustration. We do this by writing, speaking and sharing our way of being.
Take note of your impatience levels today. Where do they surge? How could you re-direct that energy?
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