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Managing Impatience – Recognize What Triggers It

traffic-jam-688566_1920-1I am a very impatient person. I think I’ve stated this in more blog posts than any other negative trait of mine because I have found it has caused many conflicts in my life. I observe on a daily basis that I am not the only person who struggles with patience. I hear people honking car horns when traffic is at a standstill or sighing heavily when the line at Starbucks isn’t moving quick enough. I have watched people hit an already lit elevator door button several times in hopes that the extra pushes will get the elevator there that much sooner. I have seen and heard these acts of impatience, and I will admit I have done these things myself a time or two.

I have over the last five months become more patience in certain situations and owed it all to my husband, and I’s puppy, Alvin. But, I wanted to learn more about impatience, and I found an excellent article recently on Psychology Today by Dr. Jim Stone that outlines, The 7 laws of Impatience. I won’t go into all seven laws, but I want to focus on the first two that resonated something for me.

  1. In the first law, Dr. Stone describes impatience as ” a very particular mental and physical process that gets triggered under specific circumstances, and which motivates specific kinds of decisive action”. He is stating that impatience can arise in anyone; some people are patience in some situations while others are triggered and react impatiently.

I found this to be an important realization because at first my husband had much more patience than I did with Alvin. I felt guilty every time I got agitated with Alvin and my husband didn’t. I even found myself questioning my dog parent/ future parenting abilities. However, according to this article my husband and I have different triggers that sent off our impatience, and that is entirely normal. Recognizing what your triggers are is important when learning to manage them.

  1. The second law Dr. Stone explains is, “Impatience is triggered when we have a goal and realize it’s going to cost us more than we thought to reach it.” The idea of not reaching our goal when we thought we would is what triggers the impatience.

I never thought that my impatience stemmed from not meeting a goal, I thought of it as a flaw in my personality. Nevertheless, it turns out in every situation there is a goal I am trying to meet, and when I realize it will take longer to achieve it, my impatient behavior is displayed.

An example is I grow more and more agitated every time Alvin jumps up on the kitchen table, and we have to pull him off and tell him “No.” My goal is for Alvin not to jump up on the table and while it would be splendid if he got this concept right away, that’s not realistic. Rather than becoming frustrated by this, I need to reevaluate my expectations and examine what I could do differently to help meet my goal.

When you feel impatient, ask yourself what is your end goal? Are your expectations for managing your goal realistic? Take some deep breaths and ask yourself if getting agitated will assist in solving the problem or will it make the situation worse?

I have already begun doing this in my day-to-day life with Alvin, with my husband, and with people at work, and I found it to be very helpful in managing my impatience.


Abigail R. C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management



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New Year – New Beginnings – Better You

recycle-1000785_1920The end of 2015 has arrived and what a year it has been! I love New Years because I love the idea of a new beginning. I like many others’ like to make New Year resolutions. I determine what my intentions for the coming year will be by reflecting on where I fell short over the last twelve months. After much reflection, it embarrasses me to admit that the area where I need the most improvement involves how I handle conflicts in my personal life. Despite my education in conflict management, I still find myself struggling to overcome certain behaviors when in the face of conflict. In this post, I want to share my shortcomings from 2015, and how I plan to make adjustments in the upcoming year.

In 2015, I was impatient. Over the course of this year, I pushed for the people I love to talk and discuss issues sometimes before they were ready because I was impatient and felt uncomfortable with lingering conflict not being resolved. I found my impatience brought about irritability and stress in my life which affected some of my relationships with others.

In 2016, I will be patient. I will practice slowing down and being more mindful of other’s needs. When I am feeling impatient about resolving a conflict that involves me either directly or indirectly, I want to slow down, take some deep breaths and acknowledge my impatience and what is causing it. I can write this in my journal or just self-reflect. After that, I will practice empathy and examine what may be causing them to be hesitant with me. My goal is to gain perspective that will allow me to be more patient with others.

In 2015, I was blunt. I have a sharp tongue, and I dislike beating around the bush. I like people to be straight with me. Therefore, I extend the same courtesy to others. However, this can be problematic because although I’m honest and point out the truth, saying it bluntly can hurt people’s feelings.

In 2016, I will think before I speak. I will practice not saying the first thing that comes to my mind and taking the extra time to think about what I am going to say before I say it. My goal is that I can articulate my points in such a way that it is honest but doesn’t hurt other’s feelings.

In 2015, I was reactive and emotional. I don’t always react or handle situations well; especially when I am stressed. I raise my voice, and I can get frustrated easily. I was naïve to think that only I was aware of this. Just before our wedding, when stress levels were high, several members of my bridal party started their questions off to me with “I was nervous about bringing this up to you but…” It was a huge wake-up call for me that the people I love were anxious to talk to me because they were worried about how I would react.

In 2016, I will be responsive. I will practice being more mindful of my emotions, speaking softer, and being more approachable. My goal is that I learn to handle stress and conflicts better so that no one feels nervous about approaching me.   If an issue arises, I first want to be aware of what I am feeling, and acknowledge it; again, I can write in my journal or self-reflect. Lastly, I will concentrate on the solution, instead of focusing on the problem. It will take less time, resolve more quickly, and I will feel less frustrated.

Your new beginnings and new you begin with an honest assessment of the areas on which you need to improve. I hope my reflections for 2015 will inspire you to develop a plan to make changes in 2016.


Happy New Year,

Abigail R.C McManus


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