This is the year that I will practice patience.
First of all, and for the record, I am not a patient person. Although I don’t mind waiting in lines or for a table at a restaurant, I do hate having to wait for my doctor to call with test results.
I’m not a patient person. Although I don’t mind waiting for a library book I put on hold to make it’s way to me, I want the book I’m writing to magically write itself right NOW!
I’m not a patient person. Although I know everything that’s worth anything takes time, I want reassurance that it’s going to happen. After all, why wouldn’t I get that leadership position this time. Even though I applied for it before, why not NOW?
It all comes down to having confidence in myself. I want to know that I’m doing a good job or that I’m a good person or that my contribution has made a difference. I struggle with looking inside for that validation; I desperately need it from others as well. But I’m learning about the impact that internal (positive, relaxing) vs. external (creates anxiety, impatience and negative feelings of self-worth) validation has on my physical and emotional well-being. It’s really a no brainer when you think about it.
In this day and age of instant gratification via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, we have become even more impatient than we were before. As soon as we post something on social media, we want to know how many likes it has, who commented on it or if it was retweeted and shared with a larger community online. Our SmartPhones are always within reach. And, although social media has been touted as a place to carry on a conversation about a myriad of topics, it has become a place for people to get pats on the back for all the things they’re doing, the number of followers they have, or the reach of their influence in a digital world.
And we grow more and more impatient to see if we have been tagged, liked, etc. And we grow more and more unsure of our role in the world and we seek validation from people we don’t know and may not even like if we were to ever meet them face to face.
Well, that’s not what matters. External validation is just not what it’s trumped up to be. (Isn’t that what we tell our students?) What matters is how we perceive ourselves. What we think about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it is what matters. The more we affirm this simple truth, the more we will be able to nurture a sense of inner peace, and the more satisfied we will be about what we have accomplished and what else we want to do in our personal and professional lives.
That’s why I intend to cultivate a patient disposition by letting go of what I can’t control. By not worrying about social media stats. By putting out there what I would like to share with the world. By being aware of my physical responses and taking deep breaths. Staying in the moment.
That’s what’s important.
Cross posted to The Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge.