An Exercise in Patience: Experiencing connection
There's a video by Simon Sinek that has gone viral, it's popularity because he hits the nail on the head (I'm a huge fan of his work).
The clip talked about how millennials (of which I am one) were raised by failed ideals that told us we could have anything we wanted without having to work for it (I'm paraphrasing) and then entered the real world and discovered that we couldn't be in the most impactful position changing the world by the time we were 22, despite having everything at our finger tips we want because, technology.
Most of the posts I've seen on Facebook focus on the technology aspect and vow to lessen their addiction to social media that Sinek says is a strategy to offer temporary relief to what is actually a deeper problem: we lack the deep meaningful relationships to turn to when we experience stress.
He says the impact is a generation with poor self-esteem, disconnection and very little patience. All three have been (and still are) main characters in my own growth and self-development.
Patience underpins both of the other two areas for me.
He's giving me (and my fellow millennials) a really easy out to blame my lack of patience on society, and it's tempting to take. It at least explains the environment in which I grew my perspective.
But being a victim to my circumstances and blaming it externally is also part of that same mindset, and it doesn't get us anywhere. When I turn the mirror on myself, I can see where my lack of patience is fear based.
I put an insane amount of pressure on myself to perform perfectly. My expectations on myself are enormous. When I think of something I like, I create an obligation on myself to do it immediately. Before long, I have a list a mile long, I'm overwhelmed, and exhausted.
It's all just rolled up in to the whole busy, stressed, hamster wheel mindset catastrophe.
And what I know when I'm in that mindset, is that I'm not present with myself, let alone anyone else. In fact, I'm disconnected from just about everything by either worrying about what just happened or what is about to happen.
Patience doesn't even exist.
Patience requires waiting, trust, giving up control, not being attached to an outcome.
And the way I have it, by avoiding patience, I'm also not experiencing connection, being vulnerable, or allowing myself to grow confidence in who I am.
And while it seems counter-intuitive, sometimes we actually need to slow down to grow what we want.
To connect with ourselves we need to be able to stop and spend quiet time with ourselves, our thoughts, our light and our shadows.
To connect with others we need to be able to look them in the eye, be with them deeply and see them without outside distractions.
The moments that we're all searching for aren't by doing more, they're by stopping and allowing ourselves to take a deep breathe and just be.
It's not just about taking a break from technology, it's creating space in your life for yourself and those that you love and giving them your full, undivided attention. Then practicing it over, and over again.