Waiting Patiently…Seriously?!

waitingThis has to be one of the most confusing phrases I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot!. During my life trial, I was told repeatedly what a patient woman I was.   Here is the question, how can you be waiting patiently, or even patiently waiting, if you are in fact engaged in the act of waiting?

Waiting:   The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.    Antonym:  Go, Act, Do

 Patiently:   In a way that shows tolerance of delays, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.    Antonym: Hostile, impatient, agitated

When we wait, it is often because we need or want something to happen and sometimes not by choice. I would guess that if we are waiting for something that we have chosen, like an upcoming vacation or something of that nature, then yes, maybe we could be patient about it.  However, what about when we are waiting for the light at the end of a tunnel, or for a hardship to end?  How in those times, can we practice patience?  Think about the last time you were waiting at a red light that seemed to go on forever, were you feeling agitated, or did you hear the sounds of chirping birds?  Being in the act of waiting, I think, automatically makes for an impatient environment.

Looking back on the times when I was waiting and feeling agitated or annoyed, those are the times when people told me what a patient woman I was, when in fact I was the opposite. Either I did a good job of hiding my frustration, or that phrase is just one that will forever be misused.

There are so many situations in life that call for us to wait and perhaps we should be spending that time in a state of patience, but for most, it becomes an anxious state. In these intolerant circumstances, our pulse rises, our palms sweat, we become irritable and highly emotional, none of which are good for our soul or daily living.  These types of reactions can make us ugly, turning us into a not so friendly, unattractive version of ourselves and can be detrimental to our future.

Let us try to put this misused phrase into practice. Have you ever seen an ugly butterfly?  It may surprise you, but I have seen a few!  These particular butterflies have tattered wings and I often wondered if they were weakened in the chrysalis or just a little beat up from life.  I assume it is the latter, but what if they are “ugly” due to the way they waited in the chrysalis.  I do not know what the caterpillar goes through emotionally or mentally, if anything at all.  What I do know is that they are forced to wait, and not by choice.

Let us think about what it might feel like to wait in the chrysalis. If the caterpillar were “waiting patiently”, I would imagine the environment as being dark but warm; lonely but quiet; constricted but free.   perfect peaceIn the dark, it senses the warmth provided by its surrounding cover easing it gently into a calmness.  When it is lonely, the intimacy provides a beautiful quiet, and in the small space, it knows that hanging on just a bit longer, will lead to ultimate freedom.  What I think this all means is that the patient part of waiting is a choice.

I say, it is worth a try! Next time you are stuck in traffic or on the verge of a panic because something has not happened yet, practice being a caterpillar just for a moment and let the stillness take you to new heights!

Do you have tips on how to “wait patiently”? Please share in the comments.

Kimberly, Courageous Butterfly

Related Topics

The Waiting, Jamie Grace

Do you think the caterpillar is afraid to turn into a butterfly? Bob Regnerus

Waiting Is Hard

Waiting for a reason


I have never been a patient person.  I’m the type that needs instant gratification no matter what the situation is.  For example if I purchase paint for a room, I’m painting that same day.  I’d like to read the end of the book before the first chapter just because I cannot wait to see how it ends!  Let’s look at the definition of patience:

1.  The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.

2.  An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.

3.  Quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care.

Let’s start breaking it down with #1.  My biggest test of being patient during misfortune and pain was during the divorce and I think my attorney will agree that I failed at that.  Here I was in an extremely stressful situation and there was no instant gratification in sight!  Unfortunately the court system calendar does not book court dates according to how stressed out the parties are.  Circumstances beyond my control caused me on many occasions to lose my temper, complain and be irritated.
#2.  Why would anyone in their right mind be wiling to accept delay? With today’s technology we have all been trained to do things and have things done quickly.  We all want faster computers, we expect fast food to be thrown at us out of the window as we drive by and if we are forced to sit and suppress that gratification we do so with cell phones in hand.
#3.  For me this is the definition that makes sense.  QUIET, STEADY, EVEN-TEMPERED CARE.  What do all of these words have in common?  They are all calming, happy, warm words.  We all become stressed when we are asked to be patient.  Just the phrase “be patient” can send one into a frenzy, it makes us nervous that we don’t know what is coming next.
If we can take a deep breath when we need to exercise patience and remember the key words, quiet, steady, even-tempered care it will help us to think about patience in a different light.  I wish I would have had those words two years ago, I may not have been so stressed out.  Also, take a look at the first two definitions; the word “annoyance” is used.  THAT is what I was focused on during my struggle and when you are annoyed you are stressed.  At the time it seemed like nothing was going my way and with every annoyance I was losing my patience.
Luckily for me once the divorce was final I had a support system in place to help me become quiet, steady and even-tempered and in turn I have learned to be patient.  Well for the most part anyway.
Most recently I am learning to ride out the events of my life and enjoy each and every moment.  I am embracing every new experience with a quiet, steady and even-tempered pace and I am a much happier person.  I no longer feel annoyed by not knowing what the end result will be and I am free to sit back and enjoy what is to come.  I no longer think of the hour-glass when I’m exercising my patience instead I am in a serene setting.
I don’t want to sound cliché but I highly recommend taking the time to smell the roses and let them bloom in their own time.
Courageous Butterfly