“Wow! , you’re so patient!” he blurted out to me when he finally looked up from reading the ingredients on the box of cereal he was pondering on purchasing. “No problem.” I automatically shot back, and was then kind of surprised at myself because I really did feel like it was no problem. I then shuffled past him with my shopping cart headed for the veggies and fruit.
Typically I find shopping at the grocery store a little bit annoying – everyone seems to arrive at the same time, people seem to congregate in front of the items that I want to purchase and then there’s the crying babies and the long wait at the checkout. It seems that no one wants to be in the grocery store, babies, adults nor the person behind the cash register helping me with my groceries. Today was different. Why was it different? Today, I had decided well before arriving at the store that this typically unpleasant task of grocery shopping was going to be different- more than the usual busy rushing about while silently cursing the multiple annoyances along the way .
The key word here was ‘decided’. I consciously decided before-hand that my experience was going to be positive and yes, it really was that easy. The difficult part was to resist entertaining all the negative past experiences and make a choice to experience/feel /see something different. Part of my choice was to respect myself enough to not get angry or annoyed at anything or anyone. I’ve noticed in the past how after I get angry that I feel like I’ve torn a small hole in my soul – almost like yelling at a dear friend only to realize later you could never reverse what you had done.
So, as I was walking into the store I was going in with a new attitude. The attitude was – there is enough time to do everything I need to do and maybe other things that I had planned for today may not get done. No big deal, I’m not going to be a slave to a list. I was surprised at how I felt relaxed and had this feeling of lightness in my step.
After I get my cart I go into the store and I’m standing in a narrow aisle waiting for an opportunity to pass by someone reading the ingredients on a cereal box. While I’m calmly waiting I’m quietly observing people in the store and wondering, “would some of them be happier if they slowed down?” I was saw babies and adults, all in their various states of happiness. I was really thankful that I wasn’t in a rush like some of them which is when I heard the cereal box reader say “Wow, you’re so patient! “
Interesting….. I wasn’t even trying to be patient – but I was . At that moment I realized that maybe having patience or any of the virtues doesn’t come from trying to be patient or trying to be virtuous but rather from the deep root of self respect.
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