I get frustrated, a lot. And easily.
Someone told me recently that maturity – real, true maturity – is a combination of three aspects. Truthfully, I think this is oversimplified, but for the purposes of this post, it will do.
1. Ability to formulate and achieve goals (Delayed Satisfaction)
2. Impulse Control
3. Acceptance of that which you cannot control
Other things – apart from this list – I have handled. I care about other people; I accept the consequences of my actions.
#1 even, I have down pat. Delayed satisfaction? Goal setting and achieving? Not a problem for me.
But #2? #3?
#2 I’m at least on the path. As kids, if my sister took my scrunchie or something, I’d smack her. Now, we’re a little more civilized. No hitting, no biting. (The same cannot be said for Ray Rice.) When my boss asks me to do something I don’t want to do, I don’t stomp my foot and yell.
But sometimes, my impulse control is not great. Sometimes, I get frustrated in traffic. Or when the grocery store self-checkout machines malfunction and you have to wait for someone to come reset the machine, I often want to yell: “Why is the scale reading so important that I can’t just hold this one bottle of Tylenol while I’m paying?!”
I haven’t done that, but I have muttered: “I hate these machines.” under my breath.
For me, number 3 is the hardest. I know people who have no problems with #3 though – it’s #1 and #2 that tie them in knots. When you ask them why they haven’t started on that thing they said they wanted to complete 4 years ago, they shrug and say: “I was busy”. Their road rage makes me look like the world’s most self-possessed, calm driver.
For me, when there’s something I can’t control? When I come up against an unexpected turn?
I rage. I scream, I cry. “It’s not right, it’s not fair!” I complain constantly, bitterly.
A lot of the time, I’m right – it’s not right, and it’s not fair. For example, it’s not fair that women are compensated less than men for the same work. It’s not right.
But what am I going to do? Rage about it all the time?
No – because you have to play the cards you’re dealt, not the ones you wish you’d been dealt.
That’s where the “acceptance” part comes in – you accept what you can’t control, and then set a goal to contribute to increased equality, long-term- or whatever.
This lesson – about accepting what I cannot control, or at least not letting myself become consumed by the injustice – it comes up for me all the time.
And I wonder if the lesson will keep coming up for me until I learn.
Sometimes, there are bumps along the way, getting to where you want to go. Patience!