I don’t care what our background of abuse, neglect and trauma is, there are times when we simply need to make a decision and a choice – to make the decision and choice – to grow as human beings or not to grow.
As survivors, is our ability to grow hampered by the changes that happened to our physiology because of the adjustments our growing body-brain had to make in order for us to stay alive?
I don’t know the answer to this question. It has to vary from individual to individual. And yet I suspect it is part of accepting the gift of being alive that automatically gives all of us with the exception of a very few the ability to exercise what it takes to pick up and run with ‘our fighting chance’ of being better that truly matters.
Through various circumstances in my present life I have been presented with a truth about myself: I am seriously lacking in patience.
Having an extremely reactionary body-brain makes it (I suspect) difficult for me to be able to STOP when reactions are at full speed (or even before the reactions happen) in order that I can find my own right to CHOOSE to exercise patience or not.
The issue of choice comes in here. I wonder, “Did I exercise patience through all the terrible abuse and forced isolation I experienced during the first 18 years of my life?”
Yes, I endured. But was I PATIENT?
I wonder, “Is ‘being patient’ only a state of being that truly happens with consciousness?” If this is true, then what I did as a child had nothing to do with patience. I had no other choice but to get through the traumas of my early life in any other way than the way I did.
What does ‘being patient’ mean, anyway?
From online Mirriam Webster’s dictionary:
Definition of PATIENT
1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3: not hasty or impetuous
4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
5a : able or willing to bear —used with of b : susceptible, admitting <patient of one interpretation>
Origin of PATIENT
Middle English pacient, from Anglo-French, from Latinpatient-, patiens, from present participle of pati to suffer; perhaps akin to Greek pēma suffering
First Known Use: 14th century
Related to PATIENT
Synonyms: forbearing, long-suffering, stoic (or stoical),tolerant, uncomplaining
Antonyms: complaining, fed up, impatient, kvetching,kvetchy, protesting
Well, certainly I suffered, but I did not have a choice about this part of my life. Just as I did not CHOOSE to suffer, I did not CHOOSE how I felt or how I reacted to the abuse and trauma that caused me so much suffering.
Was the fact that I bore “pains or trials calmly or without complaint” any reflection on ME as a unique person? Again, looking back, I see no sign that I HAD a choice which meant that I COULD NOT make a choice to not be patient. None of what happened to me involved MY ability to choose.
I wrote a post a few days ago in which I mentioned that somehow I came out of my childhood in hell with a pervasive, clear and very powerful sense of what a perfect – or much more perfect world – would BE like. This world we are experiencing at this point in human evolution is NOT that world.
True, vast improvements have been made in many ways and in many places around this world – but so much more COULD be done to improve the world – and to improve each of us individually – which would, of course, create better conditions all the way around.
But as my close friend pointed out to me yesterday, I am EXTEMELY IMPATIENT with the way reality actually is at this point in time. He says it’s like I was born out-of-synch with this time and place, and that my vision of people and of the world belongs to a point far into the distant future.
As I wrote the other day, I was always told from birth that all problems in my family (which was the only world I really knew) happened because I existed in it. If I didn’t exist all would be perfect.
During the massive amounts of time I was isolated in corners, in bed, etc. because Mother had removed me from the ongoing life of her family I listened and I heard the life of the rest of my family going on — PERFECTLY.
I cannot say that these powerful and long-enduring conditions didn’t influence how I perceive perfection in the world. But I am all grown up now – and what do I know, what do I practice, what CAN I practice (and practice better) of PATIENCE with the way I am, the way other people are, the way the human species is behaving – NOW in the REAL world in real time – right now?
I have to honestly say I don’t actually even understand the word ‘patience’. I don’t actually comprehend what patience actually is. I could say that what I have always thought I have known about being patient has been contaminated by my trauma experiences – or I could say what I know has been deeply honed so that perhaps I actually know vast amounts of information about what being patient is.
I mentioned this one small example from my childhood to my friend yesterday – what did patience have to do with this experience? *Age 15 – FORCED TO WATCH AN ALASKAN SUNRISE
Patience with standing in a super-slow store line when shopping. Patience when teaching a child something new. Patience in listening to someone tell a story when they wander around and never get to their point. Patience with drivers who need to wake up. Patient with people who are rude and inconsiderate. Patient when I don’t get what I want, don’t get it soon enough?
It seems to me that the ‘issue of patience’ and with the choice to be patient involves a consideration of one main element that I DID NOT HAVE as a child: I did not have a SELF-centered point of view. I did not have an “I” perspective. I did not exist. I had no rights. I made no conscious choices.
So ‘ego’ has to be involved somewhere in the ‘patience’ equation. So – now that at 60 I can finally begin to see what a difficult time I am having with patience – I equally must admit that I now have an ego that can and does get in my own way.
Patience is a spiritual virtue that nurtured and cultured and grown becomes one of the important powers of our soul that we take with us to the next world.
I asked my friend about this: “If there is ONLY GOODNESS in the next world (because it is God’s world and there is no duality there) – why would we ever need patience? There would be nothing negative there for us to be patient about!”
My friend’s own opinion: “Maybe we need to learn how to be patient to enjoy joy!”
Well, if I wasn’t already lost in considering this idea of patience I sure was after THAT part of the conversation! I only report all this in passing today – because I don’t understand. The earth is patient as it bears the burdens of providing life. I can see that. But again, is patience patience if there is no option to be exercised otherwise?
Are birds patient as they wait for their fledglings to grow wings? Are ants patient as they struggle to drag items home that are 50 times their weight?
What is patience for? What does it accomplish? When would it best be exercised — and when not? How do I learn to grow patiently more patient?
I sure have a lot to learn!
When do I feel patient? When am I being patient? And when am I not? What can I do to increase my ability – and willingness – to exercise patience? Am I able to be patient enough to find out?
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6 thoughts on “+WHAT IN THE WORLD IS PATIENCE?”
I too can remember only one time I stood up to my mother. I was thirteen and my older sister was in the bathroom getting beat by my mother and step dad. The door opened just wide enough to see blood . I got so enraged and scared of what was being done that I ran out of my room trying to get help. My mother and her friend stopped me and even tho they was slapping me in the face I remembered calling her all kinds of bad names.
I look back to that day and am so surprised I had the courage to have done this. It still surprises me today.
I too would rather learn to Act unstead of React. But maybe at this point of my journey I’m just being allowed to React and should be happy I’m Reacting and not suppressing like I’ve done my whole life.
Just out loud thought.
All sounding true – and so terribly hard and tragic — but you are making progress toward claiming your own life NOW!!!! You have much wisdom about yourself and are gaining more and more and more! Keep it UP!!!! YAY YOU!! 🙂
You ask more questions that possible to answer in just one post. Thinking still of the thought of could it be patience, if there was no other choice. It kind of is a gap in understanding between being patient, and being A Patient. Maybe we’re looking at this through some of the anger left over of being traumatized/abused and the lack of justness and now having to ask for help in re-learning how we were supposed to live without all that. We play like others through differences of being A Patient victimized or survival identities. I think of patience as having tolerance … maybe some of the parts are more tolerant than others and as we grow and try to share communications between parts – we are left to face the others’ emotions like anger. I don’t think it is impatient to jump up and down and scream what happened shouldn’t have happened to ME! We’re just learning to peek at anger because it pretty much blows us away. I appreciate your thoughts AND feelings on this … hope you continue to write more. We’re just a newbie to your blog. You present strong thinking. 🙂 thanks.
Hi there Ann – and welcome! Anger. Yes. Uh-Oh! Here could enter a whole bunch more questions for me!
I often notice the IRRITABILITY that is such a part of depression as a whole – also very much built into a person’s growing body-brain through horrible, traumatizing early experiences and missing safe and secure attachment – especially in the early FAST FORMING right social, emotional regulating/dysregulating right limbic brain and the amygdala.
Makes me think of this post:
Doing an online search (I use Google) for these terms
“child abuse emotional kindling”
brings up all kinds of relevant articles
But in the bigger picture I am reaching for personally, I want to know how I can STEP INTO MY OWN EXPERIENCE OF LIFE in any new way I can find to be able to stop the automatic reactions — and to find ways to choose how to ACT rather than react in my life.
Thanks so much for your comment! Certainly hope to hear from you again – anywhere on the blog you find yourself reading! All the best! Linda – alchemynow
And — I don’t believe I will live long enough to find or make the time to consider anger in relation to my childhood. As things stand right now — if I ever felt anger as a child – and I mean EVER — those memories are so invisible to me they don’t exist at all.
I had no FIGHT in me other than to not cry when I was being beaten.
I have one single memory of offering resistance to Mother that I could possibly track as an angry response. I was a senior in high school. I was politically ignorant personally, but as a part of my high school class it was a very big deal that Nixon was coming just prior to that November 1968 election to speak at our school. Everyone was excited, and had worked hard planning and preparing the decorations, etc. for this event.
On the day this evening speech was to happen Mother assigned me a very large number of chores to do before I could leave to attend. I worked hard to get them done, and right up to the last moment as I stood with the broom handle in my hands as I finished the last chore – sweeping the outside small balcony of the apartment we lived in — she approached me and told me I could not go.
At the moment she spoke those words she reached for the broom handle, I knew to grab it to beat me with. For the first time — and for the only time — I clenched my teeth and I clenched my grip on that handle as I stared Mother straight in the eyes.
Something about my look, something about the power in my body that meant she could not possibly budge that broom from my fingers — made her freeze in place for one long moment — let go and walk away.
I did not go to that speech. I was supremely disappointed. Now I could almost wonder why I didn’t go — but given the conditions I had been raised within, it was not an option.
Maybe that’s a key concept, a key word for me: RESISTANCE
I never offered any resistance to Mother’s attacks except for this one time. (*Age 14 – DIRTY DIAPER AND PEPPLES IN MY KNEES – at https://stopthestorm.wordpress.com/the-devils-child-my-childhood/vignettes-from-my-abusive-childhood/age-13-dirty-diaper-and-pepples-in-my-knees/ was the best I could do – trying to avoid the worst she could do)
Maybe it is my sense of injustice that often triggers my impatience – that I feel I am resisting injustice – which does involve a sense of ego – a healthy sense – and of course knowing anything about THAT — well……