I am an impatient person by nature. It has always been quite difficult for me to wait something out or be zen about a bad situation. I usually become frustrated, agitated, restless and even angry if something beyond my control happens. My first instinct is to remove myself from the problem (leave the room during an argument, bail out on plans that seem to be getting no where, or jump ship during moments of chaos). And yet, when that which is causing the bad situation or the dilemma is coming from within ME, then what? How do I run away? Where do I safely wait out a bad mood? How do I “overlook” the volatility of PMS? I seem to have even less patience with myself.
Last week for grad class, I read the novel “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” by Lionel Shriver. Although brilliantly written and intensely engaging, it completely ate away at the fabric of my being. The entire time I read it, I wanted nothing to do with D, I was miserable to my kids, I was in an overly dark, depressed mood and I hated my life. In fact, I had nightmares that my son was a murderer and D had cheated on me. There was indeed a black cloud of misery above my head. Usually it’s PMS or too much caffeine or sugar that changes my mood. This time, it was a book. The point is, I could not get out of this funk and by day two, I thought, I suppose I will feel this way FOREVER. Once I think such thoughts, once I am resigned to “forever,” I suddenly become scared of my situation, that it’s about to change or dissolve or spontaneously combust. But the truth is, it is a temporary paroxysm of irrational thinking that goes away once the chemicals of died down or the hormones rebalance.
The trouble is, I don’t trust that it will go away! I still believe in the (possibly faulty) belief that my mind is toxic and that I do not possess the capability of maintain a long term relationship. I sometimes believe in the (possibly faulty) belief that I might sabotage myself and my happiness. Remember, history has already established that every relationship I have EVER had has failed. Why should this one be any different?
Oh! Part of my recovery aims to build or rebuild some sense of trust in myself, and to put an end to the self doubt I so readily seem to possess at certain times of the month. Do you know how hard that is to do when you have been a failure at something your whole life? How do I continuously and conscientiously tell myself, YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT! YOU MUST HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
Oh, yes. With patience.
Despite it being against my nature to wait things out, and be patient within myself, I must trust in the blessedness of mine and D’s relationship and know that any “rockiness” I feel within myself or even within the relationship can and will work itself out. And if it doesn’t, I will still be OK. Patience forces me to stay in the NOW, it helps to soothe me and it allows me the freedom to feel whatever it is I need to feel and then move on.
But somehow, I must try to stave off the toxic thinking- that when I feel miserable I will always feel this way. Or when I am in a funk I will always be in a funk. This is irrational and I simply need patience to wait it out and know that the sun will again shine like it always does.