People tend to not really enjoy having to wait. Waiting is often dreaded and not handled well by many people. How we handle waiting can make all the difference in how much happiness, sadness, stress, or fear we have in our lives. The tough part about waiting is that we are typically relying on something or someone else, so we feel quite powerless. We are expected and forced to be patient, which is tough to do in a world where we put so much pressure on ourselves to get things done. The bad thing is we can’t always control when we have to wait.
We Have To Wait All The Time
Look at all of these times we are forced to wait when we don’t want to:
- traffic is backed up and now your 30 minute commute is 60 minutes;
- you are in line for a promotion but won’t have a definite answer for another week;
- the medical tests are complete but the results won’t be in for 3 days;
- and one we can all relate to, waiting in the doctor’s office for your appointment.
Too many times we are waiting but don’t really know how to wait. This forced powerlessness can make us angry and cause us to do things we would not typically do. Have you ever seen the guy or gal who rides the shoulder of the road and passes all the traffic while you are “doing the right thing” and just waiting like everyone else? There goes someone who can’t handle the waiting. How about the person who cuts in line with a friend after you have been waiting for an hour and they just got there? We say to ourselves that “this isn’t fair.” This is where I challenge you to look at waiting differently.
Waiting Is An Opportunity
As humbling as waiting can be, it doesn’t have to be something that makes us angry. Instead of seeing waiting as forced powerlessness, see it as an opportunity. It is an opportunity given to you by God, a higher power, or the Universe to help you slow down for a minute. We are constantly going, going, going, never taking the time to stop and smell the roses. Guess what waiting is…it is an unplanned stop in your day to smell the roses. Sure, you can be angry about waiting and justify your anger with self-talk, or you can see waiting as the opportunity that it truly is. It is a chance for you to catch your breath, to appreciate the little things in life that we don’t take the time to appreciate.
When you are in traffic and it is crawling, don’t be angry, take some time to get some deep breaths in. Fire up your phone and jam out to your music while you are sitting still. When you are waiting to hear back on your promotion, take the time to enjoy the little things about your current job…the things you do, the people you work with. The medical tests are what they are, don’t make them any of the bad things you can think of. Take the time to appreciate what you have now. And when you are waiting for that doctor to come into the room, go within. Feel your breath, the inner energy in your body, the peaceful place in you that you may not have been in contact with in years.
Waiting is an inevitable part of life. We will always be waiting on something. How you handle your waiting will have a big impact on the happiness you experience from day to day. You can see waiting as the forced powerlessness that can make you angry, or you can see it as something bigger than you giving you a chance to stop and smell the roses. I prefer the latter and have been able to move my mind to a much happier state simply by seeing waiting as an opportunity to take a breath, feel some inner peace, and think about how blessed I am. Find the joy within and use that to extinguish any frustration and replace it with happiness.
Here is a small piece from Eckhart Tolle’s book titled The Power of Now that I read at least once a week that helps me see waiting as an opportunity:
“So give up waiting as a state of mind. When you catch yourself slipping into waiting . . . snap out of it. Come into the present moment. Just be, and enjoy being. If you are present, there is never any need for you to wait for anything. So next time somebody says, ‘Sorry to have kept you waiting,’ you can reply, ‘That’s all right, I wasn’t waiting. I was just standing here enjoying myself — in joy in my self.’”