But life has taught me that waiting is not a passive activity. Actually, waiting requires energy, intention, strength and self-control; it requires effort. If you don’t believe me, just think about the times in your life when you were forced to wait. After a few minutes or months, depending on what you were waiting on or waiting for, you became restless, frustrated and anxious. And, it didn’t matter how forbearing you were either. After a certain amount of time, waiting became almost unbearable; it became a test in endurance.
Since we all are waiting, even though we may not be enjoying it, I wanted to offer some tips to make our “waiting times” productive, profitable and powerful. Yes, good things do come to those that wait. It took me almost 50 years to learn that lesson, but I now understand the value of sitting down, shutting up and staying put. So, how do you wait?
The first way to get the most out of your waiting time is to PONDER. Since you have time on your hands or since you are between jobs, lovers or appointments, PONDER. Think about your life and identify gaps in your happiness, gaps in your satisfaction, gaps in your development, gaps in your education, gaps in your fulfillment and the gaps in your healing? Are you where you want to be or where you need to be to live the life you desire? If not, ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are opportunities for me to practice more gratitude, love, compassion and understanding?
- Where are the inconsistencies in my life? Do my behaviors, attitudes, friendships and speech reflect and represent my values?
- How am I fulfilling and pursing my own development, destiny, dreams and desires?
- What areas and/or what people in my life are no longer serving, sustaining, supporting or satisfying me? Since I am the boss of me, why haven’t I made changes?
- Am I living the spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual or financial life that I desire? If I am not, why? What are my roadblocks?
- After I strip away my positions, possessions, degrees or titles, who am I? And, do I like me?
If you are blessed to have a partner, waiting provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on your relationship. Couples are usually willing to examine their relationship when their unions are threatened or in trouble, but why not daydream about ways to more effectively love your spouse in a way that fulfills her? Since you have some time, why not list all of the wonderful qualities that you admire about her? Many times we take our partners for granted and we become desensitized to the very talents, gifts and abilities that once captivated us. During your waiting period, ponder these questions?
- What changes in my behavior would help me be a better partner?
- What can I do to speak my partner’s love language consistently and fluently?
- What areas can we strengthen and deepen our connection? Do we need a relationship tune-up?
- What can I do and be to stay attractive to my partner?
- What areas or topics are difficult for us to manage? Why? What can I do to decrease the difficulty or increase our ability to manage the area/topic?
- Have I let myself go in any area? If so, why and how can I address it?
The second way to get the most out of your waiting time is to PREPARE. We all know what preparation means, but do we all really know how to do it? Sometimes I am not so sure because preparation requires us to plan, fix, arrange, organize and get ready for what we want to do, to be, to experience, to have and to share. It requires action, effort, change, reflection and renewal. Preparation is work.
Having a healthy relationship takes preparation. Many of the single women featured for the “Happy Single Highlights” column frequently mention the importance of getting ready for love. I appreciate how they explain and express the value of healing, developing, learning, enjoying, forgiving and loving themselves in the meantime and in-between times. They use their waiting times to learn more about their emotional triggers and to discover more about what makes them tick. They are waiting, and at the same time, working and celebrating themselves. They are pondering and preparing purposefully for their own success.
As a life coach, I can assure you that learning and discovering yourself is not easy work; digging through all of your emotional layers and breaking down your emotional defenses are not simple tasks. Believe me, emotional deconstruction/discovery is delicate, detailed and requires determination because without all 3 you fail to get to the root of your problems/issues/maladaptive behaviors. Without a thorough understanding of your personal history, you fail to see significant connections, identify childhood injuries and expose toxic feelings that shape and/or influence you. Without pondering, you threaten your own ability to adequately prepare yourself for what you desire in life. So while you are
waiting, prepare yourself for what you want and need. As the elders use to say: make sure you get the bricks ready for the building.
During your waiting period, ask yourself the following questions about your preparation efforts.
- While you are waiting for your dream job, what are you doing to prepare yourself to excel at it once you land it? Or, why not create the job yourself?
- While you are waiting to start school, what are you doing to prepare for your own academic success?
- While you are waiting to get over a childhood wound, what are you doing to participate in your own healing process? Have you found a trusted friend, therapist or counselor to walk with you on the road to recovery? Have you read a book, attended a seminar or joined a support group?
- While you are waiting for a good friend, what are you doing to make sure that you are good friendship material?
- While you are waiting for a partner or spouse, what you are doing to prepare yourself to be in a loving, healthy relationship? Are you improving your listening and empathy skills? Are you improving your communication and collaboration skills? Are learning how to manage conflict, manage anger and negotiate differences?
- While you are waiting to get out of debt, what you doing to curtail your spending habits and to develop a healthy relationship with money?
- While you are waiting to be physically healthy, what are you doing to accomplish that goal? Are you exercising, eating right, taking your medicine, drinking more water and getting more sleep?
The third tip to get the most out of your waiting time is to PRACTICE. PRACTICE not with the intention to become perfect because the quest for perfection is a dangerous trap. Also, I do not believe that perfection really exists, but that’s another article. I believe the goal of practice should be to improve, refine and expand our skills and let’s face it, we all need that!
If I had a few wishes, I would wish that during the wait times that all people would practice forgiveness of self and of others. Forgiveness is difficult and that is why we have to practice it and also make it a practice. When we get better at forgiveness, we can GIVE up the past, not forget the past, FOR a better future. During your wait times, why not practice forgiveness? You deserve it and so does the person who offended you.
I would also wish that we would practice listening with love. If we did, we would learn more about others and about ourselves. I wish that we would practice more empathy. If we did, people would feel and experience more love, healing, connection, vulnerability and honesty. I wish that we would all practice patience, patience with ourselves and with others. If we did, we would not be so judgmental, cantankerous, arrogant and condescending. At least, I wouldn’t.
While you are waiting, practice whatever skill or virtue you need to function in a way that makes you proud of YOU. Practice the skill that will help you advance personally and professionally. Gain some expertise, increase your proficiency and enhance your competency. You have some time, so practice. You are worth it.
The final tip to get the most out of your waiting time is to PRAY. I don’t just advocate prayer because I am minister; I believe in the value of prayer. We may call prayer by different names such as chanting, communing with the ancestors, mediating, sitting with nature, etc. How we define it and how we perform it is not important. What’s important is that we do it and that we do it consistently.
As I mentioned earlier, waiting requires patience, persistence and discipline. And let’s be honest; none of those are easy things to do. We need help! We need divine intervention or divine assistance to support us during difficult delays, gaps and pauses in our lives. We need staying power and that power usually comes from prayer.
I don’t know about you but prayer and the ability to pray have gotten me through some tough situations. Prayer has calmed me and has reminded me to stay focused despite the vicissitudes of life. It has helped me weather many personal and professional storms and has helped me deal with some significant health issues too. Prayer has given me the perspective and power to PUSH: Pray until something happens.
So while you are waiting on whatever you are waiting on, pray or do whatever you do that invites light and love into your home, life and relationships. Pray for courage and creativity. Pray for discipline and determination. Pray for rest and restoration. Pray for insight and foresight. Pray! We all have to wait so make the waiting time peaceful, purposeful and pressure-free. Pray!
Waiting is never easy, especially when the wait seems endless. Like Gladys Knight and the Pips sang: you got to make the best of (best of, best of), a bad situation. If you have to wait, don’t just worry; wonder and work. PONDER, PREPARE, PRACTICE and PRAY. I promise you these 4 tips will make your wait easier to endure and will make your life more fulfilling too.
While you're waiting, be sure to register for the 2014 CREATE LOVE Conference. Early bird registration ends soon. Also, if you are interested in being a sponsor or vendor at the conference, please contact me or Imani. We are adding an Author’s Corner in 2014. If you want to promote your book, contact us a.s.a.p. because author spaces are filling up fast.
Blessings as you wait,