At some point, early on, I bought into the story that I was impatient. I was a fast moving kid who was always on to the next adventure and at some point the seed was planted that I was also impatient.
If someone planted the seed, I watered it and gave it sun. It became a sort of explanation for bad behavior. Of course I was acting impatiently; I’m an impatient person!
I used to tell people I was working on being more patient - whatever that means. I was simply giving airtime to a narrative I had written myself.
Then in the summer of 2015, I worked at a nursing home for people with dementia. It was one of the best jobs I ever had.
It also could be a challenging job. There were days when I was so frequently asked the time by one resident, that four times I would have to give the same answer, 6:18 pm.
Oh, how I loved that job. Loved the way my 70 adopted grandparents looked out for me and gave me advice and told me what music they preferred. Loved talking to the family members who came to visit. Loved being around love - plain and simple.
One day, I was telling an adult in my life about the job. Their mom had dementia. They talked about how patient I must be to work in that role.
I’d never thought about it before. I wanted to correct them. That can’t be the case. You see, my entire life I’ve bought into this idea that I’m not patient so even though you’re making a very compelling argument right now that just isn’t the case.
But instead I listened. We compared stories. And it sounded like patience.
That was a really eye-opening moment for me - one where I realized that years ago I had written off an entire virtue for myself based on a false narrative. Suddenly moments of patience came rushing back to me. I thought about this for a long time (after all, it’s taken me five years to write this post)!
This kind of realization brings up an important question. What other parts of ourselves have we written off? Where is the evidence that we are that way? Or rather, how can we counter that? Show me examples of your kindness, your loving, your care, your beauty.
I have a feeling you’ve been a pretty patient person all along.