Whether its in my marriage… at school… in motherhood… with my family, friends, or a stranger who cuts me off on the highway, patience is a virtue I’ve struggled with all my life. I’ve never been good at pausing in a moment to process what’s happening. What I have been good at is exploding – with tears, anger, frustration, etc. Nothing positive usually comes out of my mouth and once I’ve calmed down I begin the process of self loathing for how I responded. I replay the incident over and over in my mind, wondering what I should have done differently.
Then something happened. I woke up one morning and decided I would not let my emotions control me. I made a conscious choice to begin to change the person that I have always been. Someone who has a temper. Someone who suffers from catastrophic thinking and anxiety. I will not let my sentiments dictate my life for I am in control of my emotions.
I am learning I cannot get upset with people or situations that are out of my control as both are ultimately powerless without my reaction. How can something or someone effect me if I don’t give it my energy? Not to say that I believe I should stay silent to avoid confrontation – because when its warranted I will not hold back. However, I believe its beneficial for me to first give myself time to fully process that thing or person and then decide on how to act. I only wish I had these revelations earlier on in my life. Countless arguments had with my husband or family members would have been spared if I only knew I was always the one holding the power of my emotions.
Since I became a Mother, I promised I would never yell at my daughter. I have almost kept this promise to myself and to Annabelle. The few times I’ve yelled were in moments when she was in danger – never because she was throwing a tantrum or acting out. I find being patient with Annabelle has been the easiest to uphold. I believe it is because in my heart I know that a calm voice and unrequited understanding will be what strengthens her trust in me. I’ve always valued the relationship I have with my own Mother, for she doesn’t judge me even when I’ve allowed my emotions to control my actions. I will never judge Annabelle; instead I vow to teach her the importance of patience. I want her to know patience gives others the permission to be human. Patience understands everyone fails – when a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time than they deserve to correct it. Patience is the gift of another chance.
If a moment of patience in a moment of anger will save me hundreds of moments of regret, then I would rather stay silent while I seek guidance from God, my husband, my family, my friends, or even my inner self before reacting. The advantage of silence is my reaction may never surface. Instead I can lie and wait for things to change, or just move on with my life. I’ve been practicing this silence and its mollifying. Of course my thoughts must go somewhere and they’ve found a home in a journal. My scribbles are merely a collection of words, phrases, and sentences I find inspirational, but important words, nonetheless, as they have helped me through difficult days. My vow to practice patience is coupled with an attempt at forgiveness. I have found forgiveness calming and freeing in the sense that by forgiving myself and others, I protect my heart from further damage. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s a decision and a process I hope to become acquainted with.
“A patient person shows great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.” – Proverbs 14:29