How To Thrive When You Are Stuck “In the Meantime”

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Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door. – Emily Dickinson

Patience is not a virtue of mine. When I set a goal, I work hard to make it happen. If too much time passes without results I begin to worry that I will never realize my goal. I get really frustrated, have bouts of negativity, ruminate about it and complain to the people around me… a lot. Frankly, I get pretty tired of hearing myself. I would imagine my very patient friends do, too, although, so far they’ve been too polite to say so. All the talking, strategizing, hoping and “frustrating” does nothing to move me any closer to the achievement of my goal. Rationally, I know this but it can be hard to find a way to make myself feel better while “in the meantime”.

We just aren’t always going to be able to see a clear path ahead. I often feel that if I was absolutely guaranteed of the result that I wanted, I wouldn’t care so much about how long it might take to manifest. The reality is, however, that sometimes we just don’t know what the future is going to hold and we have to wait and see. I think the more faith we have that things are meant to be as they are and that everything works out according to divine timing, the happier we flow through life. If only I had more faith! I’m so happy when all of my ducks are in a row, but my frustration can get overwhelming when they start quacking.

A fair amount of life is lived “in the meantime”.   High school students are trying to figure out how to make the best education and job choices that will build the future they want. Couples struggling with fertility wonder about the options they have to build a family. Those fighting an illness wonder how they can get well and how long it will take. Two people repairing a relationship wonder if they will be able to rely on each other in the future. Anytime we want something else or something more, we are going to pass through a “meantime” before we reach our goal.

When in the depths of frustration about being “in the meantime”, here are the steps – in no particular order – to take to get you back to thriving, regardless of what is – or isn’t – happening around you.

  1. Be in the Present Moment. When we keep trying to make things happen, we are stuck in the future. Collecting ourselves in the present moment helps to regain our strength and clarity. Sit down, breathe and direct your attention to the present moment. Observe your physical feelings, emotions and thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly. Every time your thoughts return to ruminating about what you want and don’t yet have, direct your thoughts back to the present moment.
  2. Be Grateful. When we don’t have something we want, we can think about it so much that it is blown out of proportion compared to the parts of our lives that are going right. This doesn’t mean you should not want for more – it just means that the absence of something shouldn’t take up more space than it deserves in your life. Take stock of everything you have to be thankful for right now and really appreciate it. Then, think back to the other “meantimes” that you made it through. Looking back on those times now, realize how many of them worked out for the best. Remind yourself that the current “meantime” will, too.
  3. Do Everything You Can. Those of us with a Type A personality don’t need to be told to make things happen. We need to be told to relax more and allow things to happen in the right time. But Type B personalities have just as many “meantimes” as everybody else. Be sure that you are doing everything rationally that you can to further your goal. You can’t just sit there and expect to have your life delivered to your front door. Step out of your comfort zone. Exercise a reasonable amount of effort to make things happen.
  4. Pray For Help. It can be such a relief to turn over your struggles to a higher power. You don’t even have to believe in a higher power for this to work. Just try it. You could pray to a loved one who has passed over, go back to the traditional prayers you learned as a child or you could direct your attention inward and ask your own intuition to speak up. Pray for the highest and best outcome for all involved, rather than dictating a particular result. If you are having difficulty letting go of that particular result, pray for help in detaching from the outcome.
  5. Shift Your Focus. Shift your focus and give your psyche some fresh air by finding a way to play. Go to a really funny movie, spend time with positive people or do something creative, like listening to music, cooking or refinishing furniture. Shifting your focus away from your “meantime” will eventually enable you to see ideas, solutions or avenues that you were not able to see while mired down in the struggle. Playing also reconnects you with the feeling that no matter what the result, everything will be all right.

All of these things are easier said than done. But, they are valuable tools to utilize when frustration begins to build. Continuing to thrive during each “meantime” ensures we won’t be waiting impatiently for what we want. There will always be times when a goal isn’t yet reached, when something we want seems elusive or when results didn’t turn out at all as we had expected. That is just the way life is. If we can go with the flow, rather than try to force an outcome, then we will maintain our energy and strength along with a positive outlook, no matter what is going on around us.

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