If you listened to my JOY interview last week with Dr. Pauline Boss, you'll remember part of our discussion led to an examination of the difference between patience and strategy. I was delighted to hear that many of you shared my interest in this part of the interview - it seems like you just couldn't stop thinking about it either.
I loved more than anything else just how specific Dr. Boss was able to get in her breakdown of how the trait of patience is attributed to women. It is an expectation put upon us, primarily connected to mothering. We are to be patient and kind as mothers and as potential mothers even if we never want children. The assignment of this patience is then expected to be carried out everywhere in our lives. And is seen as desirable in work, romantic relationships, friendships and our role in family systems.
When it isn’t, we are cold, calculating, ambitious, desperate, over-reacting, and of course impatient. But as Dr. Boss pointed out, this trait is one that was put upon us. We didn’t ask for it. And we do not need to embody it.
So what does it look like if we don’t? And this is the question that has me really excited. And flinging a set of double-fisted birds at the patriarchy. Also, with my tongue hanging out Gene Simmons style. (If you have never flipped the bird and embodied Gene Simmons at the same time, I highly recommend it. I come from a long line of passionate bird flippers and the addition of the tongue really adds something. I prefer this method to all others).
I am not a patient person and when Dr. Boss shared that she wasn’t either I let out a sigh of relief. I’m patient as a parent, but honestly, that is a skill that I learned as a clinician by being in a treatment room with a handful of floridly psychotic teenagers. I’m patient as a parent because I spent many years being patient with kids of all ages. So maybe my patience as a parent is a by-product of my profession, instead of just having to do with my uterus. I kind of love that my ability to be patient is a result of my ambition. It just so happens that this particular kind of patience I acquired through my work transfers well to parenting. But outside of motherhood, I am not very good at waiting around or doing so with grace. I mean I can, but to be honest I would rather not.
When I have an idea I want to make it happen now, even if the time is not right. I get so excited I jump right off the starting blocks. I just love the process and I want the wheels to turn right away. Patience in these instances is hard for me to get behind, but strategy, that makes sense to me. And this is what really blew my mind about Dr. Boss’s thoughts on strategy versus patience. One can be impatient, and also strategic. And I had kind of forgotten about this.
So I’m running some experiments. Just with myself. The time is right, as it just so happens that my type in human design suggests that I make the most aligned decisions when I wait for clarity and also that I experience more ease when I respond instead of initiate. (There is an essay coming next week all about Human Design, mostly because I cannot stop thinking about it - hold on for that.) Both of these asks have been challenging for me, but coming to them from the perspective of strategy instead of patience has made a really big difference. I can acknowledge my impatience but know that not making on the spot decisions in all instances and using my energy to respond to ideas and inspiration rather than initiate just feels better and is therefore a more sound strategy for me. I just love how the magic of language can sometimes unexpectedly blow things wide open for us. Sometimes it is the right word, at the right time that makes all the difference.