"Patience is a Virtue"

Patience is a Virtue meaning: The ability to wait for something without frustration. It is a useful skill and a good aspect of one’s personality. The proverb patience is a virtue means that it is a good quality to be able to tolerate something that takes a long time.

Patience has never been one of my more ‘virtuous’ aspects. And, truth be told, I am much more able to practice patience while waiting for some THING, but I admit to being completely lousy with having patience for some ONE. This is something that definitely applies to me:

Word!

Mostly, I have little tolerance for people who behave in chaotic and insensitive ways. I mean, we all have our moments where we unintentionally say something insensitive to someone, but it is usually to someone we love and feel safe enough around to be human. When I see someone behave in a rude way, for example, being so lazy as to leave their shopping cart not put in a return carousel or returned to the store (one of my triggers!), I say something intolerant in my head, but I would never say it to the actual person. I think most of us have experienced road rage of some kind, and say things in our heads or out loud inside the safety of our vehicle, but we don’t openly display that rudeness.

But put people behind the anonymity of a computer screen, and some people have no trouble saying rude, mean and disrespectful things. My dear friend, Will, always shows the most amazing patience with these people, suggesting that these people try to pull other people into their chaos because it’s their only way to express themselves. He reminds me often enough that we don’t know what is going on under the surface of their behavior that is causing it. He has the patience of a saint in trying to speak to them in kindness and hopes to pull them away from the acting out. I, on the other hand, am quick to give a warning that the behavior is not appreciated and that there are consequences if it continues. And trust me, I am not making empty promises to them about the consequences!

I am not at all behind the theory that some parents try to treat their children like their best friends. That is not a part of parenting! It is a parent’s responsibility to teach proper behavior, and to provide consequences for failing to behave in a proper manner. I grew up with many rules of conduct in how to treat others, and I didn’t turn out too bad. There has to be a boundary to the idea of the Golden Rule where we just ‘turn the other cheek’, right?

When I really think about it, I have to wonder if why I struggle being patient with these kinds of people has to do with my empath traits. Perhaps I see the chaos in the behavior and act quickly in defense to protect myself from actually being pulled into it emotionally? If that is true, it’s completely on a subconscious level; on the surface, I just get angry that people get away with that kind of negative behavior without consequence which, to me, condones the behavior.

As much as my friend Will is trying to encourage me to gain patience with people in this regard, for the most part, I suspect that we are going to have to agree to disagree about it. I’m simply at a place in my life where I have chosen to step away from chaos and negativity. I’ve ended a couple of friendships recently in order to move away from that, and I’m certainly not willing to let complete strangers get away with what those friends could not!

And that is just another thing that I’m going to accept about who I am!

Social Consciousness

Social consciousness is “the knowledge that the wellbeing of each member of the society you live in has an impact on the wellbeing of all members of the society. It’s the realization that living in a community which cares about (and for) other people is worth sacrificing for.”

This topic arose when my brother and I were talking recently about something that I do. If you read “The Early Bird Gets the Worm”, you probably remember that I told you that I am not a patient person. I do try to be, and I do want to be. But some things just tend to frazzle me pretty easily. However, I know when I’m approaching the end of my proverbial rope, and so I tend to let the person I’m interacting with know that’s where I am and that, should I let go and lose my last tiny speck of patience, it’s not personal. In other words, I pre-apologize beforehand if I think there is a chance my “nasty” will come out.

I blame this on my 20+ years in the hotel industry. For example, a family of five is traveling for vacation. The kids are tired and whiny. They got stuck in traffic because of a roadside accident that delayed them by an hour. Their GPS took them the long way around instead of a direct route. Now everyone is exhausted and frustrated. So they enter the hotel to check-in, whiny kids in tow, and vent all of this to the agent serving them to get them checked in. And no matter how intellectually that agent understands that it’s not personal and not about them or the hotel, they tend to feel beat up and at fault somehow. Now, imagine that same person walking up to the desk and saying, “Look, it’s been a rough trip to get here and if I come off a little terse and angry, it has nothing to do with you.” Suddenly, instead of the agent building up an invisible wall against the torrent of negative emotion being tossed at them, sympathy and compassion come to the forefront and the agent is able to express that genuinely. That calms the traveler down because someone is listening to them, and it keeps the agent from building a wall which doesn’t help either of them. I’d call that a “win-win” situation, wouldn’t you?

So, is my pre-apology a part of social consciousness, or should it be credited to learned behavior in order to make sure I avoid doing to others what has been done to me – repeatedly – over the course of my career? And, in the end, does it matter?

I like thinking of myself as having social consciousness. I hope I continue to have it and use it. I’d much rather pre-empt needing to apologize than blow up at someone. If that means I’m taking unnecessary and possibly unneeded steps, so be it.

So, where do you stand on the social consciousness scale?