S2 EP185 – The Power of Patience

Episode Summary

Do you get impatient? Would you like to become a more patient person? When others are behaving in annoying ways, what do you do? If you get impatient, annoyed, irritated, judgmental, or angry, you are reacting from your wounded self. Discover how to become patient rather than react to others when you feel irritated by their behavior.  


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding Podcast. Today I’m speaking about having patience, and the power and importance of patience. Do you have patience? Some people seem to be naturally patient. I’m not one of those people. I think I was born impatient.

I have spent a lot of time cultivating having patience and trying to understand what triggers me when I get impatient.

Like this morning. I was getting ready for my morning walk out in nature – which I love – and I was putting the leash on my dog. He also loves his morning walk, sniffing everything while I do my Inner Bonding process. I called Pippin over to get his leash on, and instead of coming, he did what he often does – he rolled over. I felt that familiar flash of impatience over his not listening to me, and I immediately recognized that my irritation was a cover up for my feeling of helplessness over Pippin. He is our rescue dog and somehow, he learned in his early very unhappy life, to roll over and give a pleading look rather than listen. As soon as I found my compassion for him, my impatience and irritation vanished. Poor little guy. I wonder what happened to him that led to him learning to do that?

I find that when I can name and fully accept my helplessness over a person or animal or situation, then I have patience. But fully accepting my feelings of helplessness about things I have no control over has often been a challenge, because helplessness is such a hard feeling to feel. I used to believe that it was easier to get impatient and irritated and convince myself that this would give me control over something I actually cannot control.

How do you end up feeling when you are impatient and irritated?

I feel awful inside. My inner child feels unsafe when I don’t show up as a loving adult and accept the reality of my lack of control over a situation. Since I’ve learned this lesson well, I rarely allow myself to get impatient with people or animals anymore. Occasionally I will indulge my irritation with my computer, but even that no longer feels good. I feel so much better when I calmly accept the reality of a situation – and have patience.

Why is this so hard? For me, helplessness brings up a whole lot of pain from my childhood. The pain of being unseen and unheard, and of being yelled at or criticized almost daily. The pain of the loneliness of being an only child and the pain of never feeling my parents’ compassion for my feelings. The pain of no one caring about my feelings and of never knowing what it was I was doing that was so wrong in my mother’s eyes. The pain of my father’s sexual abuse and of having to stay away from him. The pain of my grandmother’s meanness and darkness. The pain of feeling like an alien in my family. The pain of having to hide my good grades so the boys would like me. The pain of being poor.

And – worst of all – the pain of having felt helpless over all of this.

Now, when I feel helpless, sometimes tears come to my eyes. The current helplessness sometimes triggers the past helplessness and I cry the tears I couldn’t cry then. I accept the helplessness I couldn’t feel then, because it was way too big a feeling for my little body to manage.

Now I give my inner child the compassion she never got as a child. Now I bring the love and gentleness of spirit to her so that we can manage the feeling of helplessness. This is what supports me in having patience.

I have patience when I accept my helplessness, and I like who I am when I’m patient.

Thomas M. Sterner in “The Practicing Mind” said, “Experiencing impatience is one of the first symptoms of not being in the present moment, not doing what you are doing, and not staying process-oriented.”

Most of us do get impatient at times. Think about the last time you got impatient. What was going on? Were you focused on getting something done rather than being here in this present moment? Did you have an expectation that someone would do what you wanted them to do, and it wasn’t happening? Were you judging yourself for not being organized enough? For losing your keys? For life happening as it happens?

Getting impatient is a form of control – a way to think we can get what we want rather than accept the reality of the situation.

How does it feel to you to get impatient? I don’t like the stressed, frustrated, irritated feelings in my body when I’m impatient, so most of the time I’m able to stay aware of what Thomas M. Sterner is saying in the quote – staying in this present moment with the process, rather than focusing on the goal. 

How do you feel about yourself when you get impatient?

The paradox for me is that, while I know that impatience is a form of trying to control external things, it makes me feel out of control of myself. I doubt that anyone ever feels good about themselves when they lose their patience. I certainly don’t.

As I said, I used to be a very impatient person. I was so goal-oriented that as soon as things didn’t go the way I’d planned, I would feel this frustration in my body and express it with irritation. Of course, no one likes to be at the other end of someone’s impatient irritation, so often it would create repercussions that led to even more frustration. Not a winning scenario!

Now I know that if I get that irritated feeling in my body, the feeling is letting me know there is some way I’m not taking care of myself, some way I’m abandoning myself. So instead of going outward, I go inward to attend to what I need to attend to. The outcome of this is generally much better!

Impatience can also be triggered by physical reasons.

If I don’t get enough sleep, or enough exercise, or enough down time to regenerate, or if I have not nourished my body properly, I feel much more reactive than if I’m rested, exercised, nourished, and rejuvenated. Since I work long hours at an intense pace, I need to make sure I take care of myself regarding sleep, exercise, food, time alone, creative time, and play time with others.

Something that is important to understand about yourself is how you regenerate. Do you need time alone to regenerate, or do you regenerate best around others – or do you need both? Those of us who are introverts – as I am – often need some time alone to regenerate. Those of us who are extroverts often need to be around others to regenerate. And many of us need both – alone time and time with others. So, we each need to find the balance that creates a sense of internal peace and fulfillment.

Most of us get annoyed with people at times, and it is easy to believe that our irritation and impatience is about what someone else is doing. It is easy to think that we are irritated because they are being annoying – they are being needy, angry, blaming, resistant, withdrawn, obsequious, boring, invasive, pathetic, judgmental, anxious, dramatic, and so on. Yet not everyone will feel irritated or annoyed with these behaviors. When you do, there is a good reason for it, and it is always more about YOU than about the other person.

People are mirrors for us. Their wounded behavior is mirroring something about our own wounded self. While their way of acting out their woundedness may not be the way we act out ours, the fact that they are abandoning themselves – that they have no loving adult present – may be mirroring our own self-abandonment.

For example, June discovered that when she is tired, she tends to withdraw, shutting down her usual friendly and bubbly energy. Her husband, Pete, who is often needy for connection with June, responds to her withdrawal by becoming agitated. June, unaware that she has started the negative system with her withdrawal, feels pulled on by Pete’s anxiety and responds with irritation. Pete now doubles his efforts to connect with June by becoming overly talkative. June responds with anger to Pete’s efforts to connect with her, blaming Pete for pulling on her.

In a session with June, she complained about Pete’s pull on her and how often she feels impatient, irritated, and annoyed with him. As we backtracked through their last interaction, June realized that she abandons herself when she is tired, and that her withdrawal is actually a pull on Pete to make her feel better. While the way Pete acts out his self-abandonment is different than the way June acts out hers, they are mirrors for each other in the fact that they both abandon themselves.

“June,” I said, “your impatience and irritation are signals that you are judging Pete for the very thing that you are doing – abandoning yourself. Next time you are aware of being irritated, it will be helpful to you to do  Inner Bonding and discover how you are abandoning yourself and what would be loving to yourself. For example, right now ask your guidance what would be the loving action when you are tired? What can you do rather than shut down?”

June opened to learning with her guidance and asked about the loving action when she is tired.

“Oh, I can begin to see the problem. I have a judgment about being tired. I don’t think it is okay to be tired. In my family, no one was allowed to show they were tired. We just had to keep getting things done. So I don’t even let myself know that I am tired. My guidance is saying that the first loving action is to acknowledge that I am tired and be compassionate with myself rather than judgmental for my tiredness. I can see that if I did that, I wouldn’t shut down and abandon myself as a way of dealing with being tired. I could just tell Pete that I am tired and need to rest.”

By doing Inner Bonding rather than acting out her impatience and irritation coming from her self-judgments about being tired, June learned some very important things about her beliefs and behavior. Acting out her irritation is a way to control Pete rather than love herself. Moving into Inner Bonding is a loving action toward herself and leads to further learning and loving actions.

Being judgmental toward yourself may lead to being impatient, annoyed, irritated, and judgmental toward others, as it did with June.

I received the following request from a member of Inner Bonding Village:

“I was just thinking that it would be helpful to understand how Inner Bonding helps us with the following: We tend to judge or be critical of others in our lives – at work, strangers, relationships of all types, with people we come in contact with in our lives. We see them as people we criticize for whatever reason – they annoy us, irritate us, or we see them as too fat, too thin, too bald, too much hair, too cute, whatever. We treat others around us in the workplace or other places with contempt or just plain don’t like them for whatever selfish reason. How does Inner Bonding fit into this? I can think of people at work whom I really don’t like being with for whatever reason. We tend to judge and be critical and non-empathetic, including drivers, phone solicitors, and so on. How can Inner Bonding help us with this negative outlook of others, and why is this so common?

There are generally a few underlying reasons why you might judge others.

The irritated impatient wounded self protects against painful feelings with projection and judgments.

Projection occurs when we unconsciously deny our own thoughts and feelings, and then ascribe these to others. For example, if you are angry and denying your anger, you might believe that another person is angry. You are projecting your anger on to the other person, believing that he or she is the angry one instead of you.

When we judge others, it is often because we are unconsciously judging ourselves and then projecting that judgment onto others. Our impatience, annoyance, and irritation are projections of our own inner child’s annoyance and irritation at us for our unloving treatment toward ourselves.

Judging others is one of the major ways the wounded self protects against our own existential painful feelings of life – of loneliness, heartbreak, and helplessness over others. The more you focus on what is wrong with others, the less you are focusing on being present with yourself and your own feelings.

Judging others is a way that the wounded self tries to cover up its core shame – feeling inadequate, insecure, unlovable, and unimportant. Core shame is the basis of the wounded self, so the wounded self always feels like there is something wrong with you. Getting inpatient, irritated, and Judging others is a way of covering up the core shame. 

Practicing Inner Bonding heals the underlying self-abandonment that cause the core shame, and causes us to feel impatient, irritated, annoyed, and angry.

When you practice Inner Bonding, you become more and more conscious of your own feelings and thoughts. You discover the self-judgments that come from your wounded self that cause much of your anxiety. The more you practice Inner Bonding and move out of self-judgment and into kindness and compassion for your feelings, the more you will naturally be more patient and compassionate with others’ feelings and behavior. As you practice Inner Bonding and learn to treat yourself lovingly, you gradually find yourself treating others lovingly as well.

When you practice Inner Bonding and learn to know your true essence through the eyes of your spiritual guidance, you heal your core shame. When you know the beauty of who you really are, you are then able to see and value the essence of others. Rather than being impatient and irritated and judging people for their outer qualities, you are now able to connect with their inner qualities. This enables you to move beyond impatience and into the love and power of patience.

When you feel impatient, upset, or hurt, do you get angry, and if you do, why do you get angry?

“Don’t I have a right to get angry when someone hurts me?” asked my client Allison in one of our sessions. Allison had sought me out because she had discovered that her husband, Jerry, was having an affair. She loved Jerry and didn’t want to leave the relationship, but she didn’t know what to do. She was not just angry – she was furious.

“Of course you have a right to get angry,” I told her. “But what’s the point? What do you hope to gain by getting angry?”

“What do you mean, ‘What’s the point?’ He has betrayed me. I am hurt and angry. Wouldn’t anyone be hurt and angry in this situation?”

“Yes, most people would. But going back to the Inner Bonding concept of intent – what is the intent of getting angry? Are you taking loving care of yourself or trying to control Jerry when you get angry at him?”

“I’m taking care of myself by getting him to see how badly he has hurt me. He has stopped the affair, but I want to make sure he never does this again.”

“So you are telling yourself that if you can get him – with your anger – to see that he has hurt you, you will have control over the future and you will feel better, is that right?”


“Allison, does Jerry know that you feel hurt?”


“Are you feeling better?”

“No. I still feel furious.”

“I’d like you to go inside to the angry part of you. Ask your inner child why she is angry at YOU.”

“Little Allison, why are you angry at me?”

“Now allow your inner child to talk with you. Allow her to express her anger at you.”

Here is what little Allison said: “You keep wanting Jerry to love me and pay attention to me, but you don’t. You never listen to me. You never hear me. I’m not important to you. If you paid half as much attention to me as you do trying to get Jerry to pay attention to me, I would feel a lot better. You even told me that it is my fault that Jerry had an affair. You always tell me that I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough. I’m so angry at you! I hate you!”

“Wow!” said Allison. “I didn’t know that was in there!”

“Allison, anger at another person is generally a projection of our inner child’s anger at us for not taking care of ourselves. You are getting angry at Jerry to try to have control over getting him to love you, instead of taking responsibility for loving yourself. Your anger at Jerry did not start with the affair, as you’ve told me. You have been angry at him for years for not giving you what you want, is that right?”

“Yes. I have always felt unimportant to him. Only now it’s worse.”

“Allison, your anger is your wounded self’s way of trying to control getting what you want, and Jerry’s withdrawal and having an affair are his wounded self’s ways of trying to have control over not being controlled by you. Both of you are acting from your wounded selves in violating and disrespectful ways toward each other. Neither of you are taking loving care of yourselves. Instead of continuing to get angry at Jerry for his wounded self, why not open to learning about your own wounded self? Continuing to be angry at him only perpetuates the dysfunctional system that the two of you are operating in. It’s not that you don’t have a right to your anger – it’s that it is not working for you to dump it on Jerry rather than learn about why your inner child is angry at you. And there is a good possibility that if you start to take responsibility for your own feelings instead of making Jerry responsible for them, the two of you can heal the dysfunction in this relationship. Are you willing to take your eyes off Jerry and put them on yourself?”

Allison was willing and spent the next six months in weekly sessions, learning how to take loving care of herself. After a couple of months Jerry also started working on himself. Allison and Jerry have a ways to go, but they are well on their way to a far more kind, compassionate, loving relationship, with caring and patience toward each other.

A while ago, I did a webinar on loving yourself when another person is impatient, annoyed, irritated, or angry and, surprisingly, I received questions on how to love yourself when YOU are the one who is impatient, annoyed, irritated or angry.

Camille asked:

“How do I stop being angry over a broken childhood, an alcoholic father, and irritated and impatient with a mother who stayed with my drinking father?”

Camille’s anger, irritation, and impatience indicate that there are ways she is abandoning herself. It’s easy for her to look to the past for the source of her feelings, but her angry and irritated feelings are actually current. Her inner child is angry at her for how she is treating herself that is like her parents treated her and treated themselves. She is judging herself like they judged her and themselves. She is ignoring responsibility for her feelings just as they did. She is turning to addictions, such as food and nicotine, like her father turned to alcohol. She is making others responsible for her wellbeing and then blaming them when they don’t do what she wants. Her impatience, annoyance, irritation, and anger are about how she is treating herself – not about her broken childhood or at her mother for stayed with her father.

Focusing on others or the past are ways to avoid responsibility for ourselves in the present. We can learn from the past about our role modeling and how we got our false beliefs, but we can’t change the past. We have no control over what happened to us as we were growing up, but we have total control over how we treat ourselves today. And how we treat ourselves today has everything to do with whether you are patient or impatient, compassionate or judgmental, irritated or accepting.

Janine asked in Inner Bonding Village:

“I’ve noticed impatience and irritation has been popping up when something small happens, something that triggers a big upsetting story. An example happened the other day when I received a credit card offer in the mail. While this seems benign (I could just throw the offer away and be in peace), I find myself telling a big story about how I am helpless over how my personal information is used. My anger and impatience usually happen when I have done everything in my power to stop these offers, like continuously submitting my personal information to OptOutPrescreen.com, which is designed to stop credit card companies from sending you offers. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.”

Janine is aware that this issue makes her feel helpless, but she isn’t aware that she is using her anger, irritation, and impatience to cover over her helplessness. As I said, helplessness is a very difficult feeling, and it feels easier to get angry and impatient than to accept this very painful feeling. But if Janine were to compassionately embrace her helplessness and fully accept it, it would move through her anger and impatience, and she wouldn’t be stuck with it.

Generally, our anger or impatience is a way to try to have a sense of control over something that we actually have no control over, such as other people, outcomes, and situations such as what Janine described. Yet, since the sense of control is an illusion, the anger, frustration, and impatience continue. What anger and impatience does have some control over is the feeling of helplessness. We can avoid this feeling by getting angry and impatient, but what is the price we pay for this avoidance?

If Janine had accepted her helplessness, she would likely have been over the situation within minutes, but in avoiding it, she may still be ruminating over it and still angry about it. When we fully and compassionately accept the reality of our helplessness over a situation, we can easily let it go and move on. But when we refuse to accept the reality, we may stay angry, frustrated, and irritated.

Loving yourself when you are impatient and angry is twofold:

  • Exploring how you might be abandoning yourself
  • Exploring what feelings your anger and impatience are covering up

I hope the next time you feel impatient, irritated, annoyed, frustrated, or angry, instead of acting out from your wounded self, you love yourself by doing your Inner Bonding work to discover how you are abandoning yourself and what feelings you are avoiding. Your inner child will really appreciate it!

I invite you to join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have so much to offer you at our website at https://www.innerbonding.com.

And, if you enjoyed this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you tell your friends about it, and if you give it a review wherever you heard it.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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