Impatient? Is it External or Internal?

Although many of us point to situations or people as the cause for us to be impatient, often it is not these external factors but internal factors that are to blame. We may think a certain situation or person makes us impatient, but that may not be the case at all. The fact is psychological or physiological factors can cause impatience.

Our emotions are an important part of our psychological makeup. They help us adapt and express ourselves. However, if we do not gain control over our emotions they can cause havoc in our life. Many make decisions based on an emotional response, which is usually not a good thing. We often react to something or someone based on our emotions. This is often not a good thing, too. This reaction often leads to impatience.

Impatience often raises its ugly head when someone or something makes us angry, frustrated, or embarrassed. The problem is not just the impatience but what caused it – which was our anger or frustration regarding a situation or person. Then the issue becomes why are we angry or frustrated? Is it a control issue? Do we lack control over the situation? Does the person or situation make us nervous, uncomfortable or embarrassed?

If standing in a long line makes us impatient, what is causing that? Is it because we do not have control over how quickly the line moves? Can we do anything about it now? If not, why get impatient? It will not do any good to stress out and get frustrated if there is nothing we can do about it. The underlying problem is the fact that we cannot control the situation or person, so we get impatient.

Impatience happens when we think we cannot handle or control a situation or when we think we will not reach a goal set, no matter how minor that goal is. If we think we will not be able to get to work in time, we get impatient with other drivers. If we think we will not finish a task at work, we get frustrated and impatient. If we think a meal will not turn out right, we get impatient with the process. Impatience comes from within. It’s usually not the external factors – the people or the situation – that cause impatience. But our mindset that leads to our reaction.