Character Chats

How do we distract ourselves when we get impatient?

Patience is our True Character word of the month. Patience means waiting without complaining.

We’ve talked quite a bit throughout this month about different levels of patience. We’ve talked about how we show patience. We’ve talked about how we take our turns and wait for the right time. We’ve talked about patience with our long-term goal setting and patience with the virus.

Now we’re going to talk a little bit about impatience.

We all get impatient

We all get impatient. Of course, we do. That happens.

People don’t naturally like waiting in line. No one has ever walked up with a store cart full of food — you’re starving because you just looked at food for the last half hour — looked up and seen a line of six people and thought, “Oh yeah, a line. I was hoping there was going to be a 20-minute line here today. Oh man, that makes my day.”

That doesn’t happen. No one feels that way. Everybody looks at that line and goes, “Ugh.”

Now if I’m waiting in line at Jewel and you’re in front of me, and I’m sitting there and I start bumping the person in front of me with my cart, is that going to help? Or are they just going to think I’m a jerk?

That doesn’t help.

If I’m in line and I start whining, “Why do I have to wait? I’m so hungry,” does that help?


Does that make anybody around me feel better?


Does that make me feel better, whining about it?


Whining about having to wait will never make you feel better.

So what can we do?

Ease impatience with breathing

One of the things we can do when impatient is take three deep breaths.

Breathe in deep through your nose, make your belly big, hold it, and let it out through your mouth. Take in three deep breaths and you can kind of cleanse yourself.

Sometimes when you feel impatient, you feel this inside of you — like something inside of you wants to run, something inside of you wants to push, something inside of you wants to shove, wants to scream.

Three deep breaths can calm that little thing inside of you.

Pass the time with something enjoyable

Another thing we can do when impatient is to do something that we enjoy doing.

A lot of times when we’re impatient, we’re waiting. So pass the time with something you like to do.

Fortunately, these days we all have technology in our pocket.

As adults, take a minute to scroll Facebook. Most of the time when I do a wasting-time activity like that, it’s because I’m waiting for something. That’s when I do it. I look at the news, look at photos, play a game on my phone.

Count the ceiling tiles. No, I don’t think anybody wants to do that. We want to do something that we like to do. It distracts us. Hey, I’m in line. It’s a 15-minute line. You know what? My game takes 12 minutes. Perfect. I’ll get a game in.

Say kind words to ourselves

Another thing we do is say kind words to ourselves. Sometimes we need to calm ourselves down, just say some kind word to ourselves.

Maybe you’re now waiting in line on the road. You’re tying to get to karate class and the train comes in front of you. Oh man, here we go. Now we’ve got to wait. And you think, “I’m going to be late to karate class.”

You know what? Just stop and say kind words. “It’s okay. I’m usually on time. That’s why we build up the trust. That’s why I come on time all the time. Master Helsdon, Master H, they’re going to know that I’m always on time and something must have happened.”

All right? Say those nice kind words to ourselves.

Figure out your way to handle impatience

Patience is an important thing to show.

Impatience is something that we all get.

Trying to figure out how to work through your impatience, something that works for you every time, is a really important part of life. It’s a really important part of holding your character.

Character isn’t always easy. Character doesn’t always come naturally. It’s something that we always have to work for.

Understanding and knowing that, and coming up with ways to work through it, is how we can keep and hold that character that we expect. It’s how we can have that patience.

Thanks and we’ll see everybody on the mat.
–Master Helsdon