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Learning to Wait

Many would agree that we live in a society that is becoming ever more instant. We want what we want and often we want it now, we have fast foods and superfast broadband and ever-increasing internet speeds because we want access to things NOW. Even our TV watching has changed as we stream things or overdose on box sets. Gone are the days when we have to wait a week to catch an episode of our favourite show, in fact I know people (possibly myself) where we want to wait till we have a whole series or at least several episodes recorded until we start watching so we can have it all exactly when we want it. I notice that even with movies some are available on TV with certain providers as soon as they are released at the cinema. It’s the same with things like photographs, can you remember handing in a ‘reel’ of film and waiting a week to actually see the photographs?Whereas now instantly we not only see them but can spread them all over social media!

But are all these instant fixes doing us any good? Or have we simply robbed ourselves of the pleasure that waiting, and anticipation can bring? They say that good things come to those who wait and sometimes we equate time with quality, often being prepared to pay a lot more for something that has been handmade or individually designed, the assumption being that the additional time and effort has increased the value. When it comes to money, we see a similar pattern with the ‘buy now pay later mentality’ which frankly would make many from my parents’ generation turn in their graves.
When should we wait and when is it okay to demand things now? I suppose the answer is in the reasons why we are unprepared to wait, and in part that comes down to a mixture of societal change and our own personality.

The danger with not waiting for anything, with a growing attitude that instant gratification is okay, is that we run the risk of loosing that valuable quality of patience. Yes, it can be frustrating to wait for things, but we all know that sometimes the results are better when we do wait. There is a pleasure in anticipation – can you remember waiting for a birthday treat when you were small or waiting excitedly for a day to come around when something special was going to happen. There is a pleasure in that, and some would argue it even increases the pleasure when we get the treat or whatever simply because we have had to wait.

Being put in positions where we must wait is actually an opportunity to develop our sense of patience, which is defined as ‘the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems or suffering, without becoming annoyed or anxious’.

Why on earth should we put up with waiting, it can be guaranteed to annoy at certain times but that is where we need to make a bit of distinction between things we can or can’t control.Think about the extent to which we can adapt emotionally to situations where we are not in control, leaning to wait can help us and maybe free us form anxiety at times too.

What our attitude and ability to be patient often depends on is how ‘in control’ of the situation we feel. As humans we often like a degree of control, it can help us to feel safe although often what we think of as being in control is a bit of an illusion. We make plans, obviously because we think/hope we will wake up the next day. That is how we live life and when we are forced into situations of waiting it is because something or someone else is in control, waiting to hear back about test results, job interviews, a phone call or text from someone or even the rain to stop can be frustrating.But instead of being irritated think of it as an opportunity to practice being in the here and now – something that has been shown to help our mental wellbeing and a bit of an antidote to the worry and anxiety that can cause problems for a lot of people.

That doesn’t mean we should accept whatever happens, it is okay to demand reasonable service and generally if we want something it is best to go out and seek it or make it happen, but at the same time we will be buffeted by things that are beyond our control we should learn to go with it rather than becoming anxious and just enjoy the here and now rather than fretting about the future.
I know, it’s all a bit confusing, sometimes we should seek change and sometimes we should accept what is happening but let’s be honest no one ever said life was simple, but then again maybe it can be!
So, if you want to unpack this a bit more you might be interested in my book Make it Magnificent available to buy now from Amazon or fromwww.attunededucation.co.uk

And you can join the newly created make it Magnificent Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/makeitmagnificent/