"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Plank Pullin': I'm a Giant Hypocrite

So my friend Jessica of Bohemian Bowmans does a Plank Pullin' post (try saying that 5 times fast) every Thursday. You know, from the verse "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" I think she's pretty darn cool, and brave, for posting these every week. However, despite her valiant effort to get people to join her, I have resisted - mightily - until now. It's not that I didn't have planks to pull. Oh, no. The problem was that I had so many planks to pull. Where to even start?

So many planks, so little time.

But something's been bothering me lately, so in the interest of "confession's good for the soul" I hereby give you my very first Plank Pull:

I'm a hypocrite.

There, I've done it. Phew! I feel so much better now. Thanks for reading.

Oh, did you want to know how I'm a hypocrite? Well if I must....

I write a lot about staying calm in the moment, about not sweating the small stuff, and about treating kids kindly and respectfully. I write a lot about patience. And while every word I write is authentic (I don't know how to write any other way) I've become increasingly aware of - and uncomfortable with - a dichotomy when I write about patience specifically. Because the fact is,

I am one of the most impatient people I know.

Yes, I'm generally able to maintain patience with my children. But with other adult family members? With myself? With LIFE? Not so much with the patience.

I think it's funny when people say things to me like, "How can you stay home with four kids all day? Don't they drive you crazy?" The truth is, as far as I'm concerned, staying home and dealing with the four people I love more than anyone is exponentially easier than it was to deal with co-workers. Or customers. Or most of the general population. I used to work in retail, and I would inevitably come home mentally and emotionally exhausted every. single. night. People sort of... well, they drive me crazy. "What is wrong with everybody??" is a common lament around here.

I am such an advocate for treating children like people (because they ARE people) but somewhere along the way I think I forgot that adults are people too. I am so impatient and easily frustrated by other people's more... human qualities. Particularly when I'm dealing with friends and family members, I have a tendency to expect them to be perfect. Then when they're not, I internalize it: How could they say that to ME, how could they do that to ME, why are they always so self-absorbed? Ironic, no? The truth is, no matter what color I paint it, it still boils down to one thing: my impatience. My impatience with people who, just like me, are flawed. People who, just like me, are on their own paths to self discovery. People who, just like me, have good days and bad, and who might not always think before they speak. People who, just like me, deserve to be treated gently and kindly and with PATIENCE.

I am too hard on people, and I hate that about myself. I want to be more patient and loving towards everyone, not just my kids. I want to be better about it, and I'm trying to be better about it, but because I'm so impatient with myself, I want to be better about it RIGHT NOW.


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