Monday, October 01, 2007

Patience

If you're still coming back to this blog, you certainly don't need for me to tell you about patience. Clearly, you've got more patience than a PhD. (Pardon the pun.)

I like to consider myself to be a work-in-progress and I really respect those that think the same of themselves. Y'know, you can like yourself and still see room for improvement. In my opinion, one of the noblest acts is when a person takes steps toward the goal of self-improvement. We don't always succeed, but I think there's a tiny little award somewhere for those of us who give it a try.

Me? I'm working on my patience. And these days, I'm feeling pretty good about the progress I've made.

There's no big story to tell here. I just thought I'd express this feeling I've been having, lately. I think I've always been a nice guy, but I feel a little better about who I am, these days.

In the movie, You've Got Mail, Tom Hanks' character tells Meg Ryan not to be jealous of his rare and well-honed ability to rapid-fire smart-ass responses to those who dare cross him.

I think many of us have found ourselves in those situations where someone's said something really clever and kinda mean, to us, but we just can't seem to come up with the zinger - the snappy comeback - that'll put'em back in their place. Instead, several hours or several days pass before we think of something better than, "I know you are, but what am I?!"

Tom Hanks' character said that the price of the well-timed, well-delivered, well-done snappy comeback is inexhaustible and inevitable regret. I've found that to be pretty accurate.

Now certainly, there are times when I'm glad I've got this sharp tongue (complete with hair-trigger) but now that I've been that person long enough, I find myself focusing less on the sense of satisfaction I get from telling someone JUST what I think of their actions or themselves. Instead, I find myself regretting the times when a simple misunderstanding resulted in someone catching a tongue-lashing from yours truly.

Maybe it WAS their fault, but maybe it was mine, too.

It's times like those that I think even more than usual about the kind of world we're making and how much I'm contributing to its inter-personal demise.

As a result, I've tried a little harder to get a little closer to the right balance between telling people off and telling myself to be patient enough to give them time and space enough to recognize their mistakes (be they mean or well-intentioned)... and let the chips fall where they may.

I'm no longer so diminished by the fact that someone "got away with" some slight form of disrespect. It doesn't hurt me. I don't feel like I'm still that kid that was so frequently taken advantage of. I don't feel so much like I need to make up for lost time.

I'm patient enough to be quietly annoyed by the flaws and frailties of those around me - just like I want them to be with me.

I like this patience thing. I like being this person. I hope more people give it a try.

And I hope they hurry the ^$##^! up. I don't have all day.

;-p

2 comments:

nikki said...

i love this entry, west. i keep forgetting just how eloquent and insightful you are and i especially appreciate your ability to look inside yourself and acknowledge both your strengths and challenges. the little triumphs are sometimes more rewarding than the big ones, you know?

i still gotta work on my patience (among other things). your actions has provided inspiration. :)

B. Good said...

Funny thing patience is, for it takes patience to overcome impatience (as you demonstrated in your last sentence).

And I love that movie.