“It’s taking too long” is a thought that comes up for most of us at least once a week, if not once a day. After all, we ordered our meal half an hour ago. Where is it? Or we’re on our way somewhere and we get faced with traffic or metro delays. Our feet begin to tap with impatience.
Then there are the bigger things in life that we wish would hurry up.
We may think, ‘It’s taking too long to get’:
A great relationship
An awesome job
A business built
A house remodeled.
Or ‘It’s taking too long to get through’:
A difficult phase with a child
Paying off debt
Caring for a sick loved one.
We want it to be over already. We want the end result. We feel impatient, anxious, frustrated, or upset that we’re not getting what we want.
When we think “It’s taking too long” we are basically saying, “It shouldn’t be happening this way.”
I like to recall the time I saw a two year old girl get upset that some ice cubes she had brought with her to the park had melted on a hot summer day. She cried and cried. She was basically saying a similar message, “This shouldn’t be happening. My ice should still be here.” But that wasn’t the reality. Ice melts on hot summer days. By spending her time arguing with the properties of water she was missing out on all the fun that she could have been having at the park.
When we decide that something is taking too long we enter into a grown-up tantrum state of our own. Because, after all, the traffic is moving at a certain speed. Finding a good fit in a significant other or a job can take some trial and error.
Our analysis that it shouldn’t be this way only serves to move us to a more agitated state. It divorces us from the present moment and takes us away from all the good things that are available to us right here and right now.
Byron Katie, a speaker and author, says, “When I argue with reality, I lose- but only 100% of the time.”
So how can we make peace with events or goals that take longer than we’d like? I posed this question to a group of my colleagues. Here were some of their thoughts that moved them to a better place. See if one or more of them resonate with you. And remember, accepting reality does not mean becoming passive. You can still look for ways to move more quickly. These thoughts will just help you to take action from a better feeling place.
“When I have that thought, I tell myself ‘Look around.’ Snaps me into the present to appreciate what is happening at that moment. And I always find something to recognize as valuable about where I am, whether it’s a place or a process.” – Carla J Roberston
“It is happening at just the right time.” –Christie McLamb Inge
“I remind myself that the many puzzle pieces to bring me my best good are being put in place for perfect outcome. (This comes after many years of hindsight where I see how perfect the machinations of many events contrived to bring me to a certain place in time and space.)” –Bethany Eaton Good
“It’s taking exactly as long as it’s meant to take. I also like to play around with questions like: What about this is perfect? What is the gift here for me?” – Maryna Smuts
“My timing is perfect and elegant.” – Audrey Wilson Andrysick
“One thought I use: The longer I’ve been without it could just mean that I’m actually that much closer to experiencing it. Like you’re driving in the fog for a hundred miles but you’re a mile away from the destination. It’s gonna happen but you just can’t see it. Yet.” –Jeffrey Adrian Platts
“It must be worth it.” –Katie McClain
“When something you think you want takes awhile to achieve, you get plenty of time to be really sure you want it.” – Beth Herman
“What is right here in this moment that I may be missing out on by projecting into “It’s taking too long”?” – Mary Ellen Telesha
Two Famous People Quotes
“It doesn’t come later. Everything you’re supposed to do is here right now.” –Byron Katie
“Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something.” –Randy Pausch
Feel free to share how you deal with something taking longer than you’d like in the comments. I included a longer note from one of my colleagues in the comments as well.
Beware waiting—it’s the absence of appreciation.
When you’re waiting—in the sense that you’re asking about here—you’re focused on the lack of what you want. It’s like saying that the present moment is not worth being involved with—we’re just trying to kill it as quickly as possible so we can get to something else more interesting. You’re no longer co-creating. You’ve handed over your responsibility.
Much better to be involved in a delicious pursuit. To be actively engaged in the creative process. That way it doesn’t matter that you’re not there yet. Getting there isn’t the point. It’s the thrill of the chase.
I’m not searching for a job, or a buyer—I’m constantly looking for the opportunity to serve (they’re abundant). I’m not waiting for my kids to behave—I’m loving the excuse to be a kid myself.
If it’s something you really have to wait for, then why not try savoring, anticipating or expecting; they have a more active and appreciative energy. So much more fun. –Lachlan Kotter