I know my biggest professional flaw, and it's my impatience. I tend to send in writing assignments a little too early - and before the deadline - because I'm so excited to get feedback. I know logically that if I can let an article sit for a few days, and then look at it with fresh eyes, the piece will be all the stronger; yet I feel a desperate urge to deliver it asap. When I send an email request to a professional bigwig, I expect (somehow) to hear back from that person within an hour and feel disappointed when I don't. Logically, I understand that said bigwig actually has other priorities and may not even be in the office. And yet, I feel the minutes ticking by and wonder what could be taking so long. This impatience, which has served me super-well and also horribly, comes from my passion and also an immature chase for instant validation. I am working on it. Ironically, it takes patience to do so.
In my personal life, I can be much the same. I like fast results. There is an upside to this: If I screw up somehow in a relationship, I will own up fast, take total accountability and change my behavior. If someone else screws up, I will tell that person quickly that I was upset by their behavior and what would have worked better for me. I will not be passive-aggressive or let my bad feelings linger too long. If I say things will get done, you can bank on me every time. The downside is that I often want my loved ones to change faster than they can and get easily frustrated. It's too high of a bar, and makes people feel pressured and understandably frustrated. So I'm working on this too - slowing down and not needing immediate results.
Meditation helps. I can let my swirly-whirly thoughts whiz around my brain while lying still and doing nothing about them. I have trained myself to just watch the urges ("Check in with that editor!", "Find out what's taking (fill in name) so long to respond!", "Why hasn't (fill in name) gotten back to me?!") buzz around like bees, while seeing them for what they are - worries and calls to action that seem urgent but aren't. I no longer run to the computer to "fix them." This is progress.
What's also therapeutic for me is engaging in activities that take time and have no instant pay-off. Risa and I sometimes sew Ugly Doll knock-offs, and this is perfect for me because you do a little sewing one night, put it away, pick it up a few days later, sew more, maybe forget about it for a week, and come back to it. Making them "ugly" on purpose is also ideal because I have no innate sewing skills. I can make "ugly." See?
Speaking of patience, in my very first blog post, I wrote about my orchid Gillian, whose flowers all fell off (which I believed was a result of my talking too much in her presence). But several of you encouraged me to keep taking care of her and assuring me she would bloom again when she was ready. So I kept feeding her four ice cubes per week, as one of you suggested, and giving her the time she needed. And look what happened last week! Just like you said, she bloomed again. And she's as lovely as can be. When I look at Gillian's spectacular petals, it is a reminder to me to take things slow, be more patient, and keep the faith. What's the big rush?
I am a journalist, filmmaker, author, wife, and mom to an 8-year-old daughter. My most recent project is I Love Mondays: And other confessions from devoted working moms. Other projects explore raising only children, happily ever after, raising strong girls, and hot topics for Jewish women.
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