I was listening to the Eqafe recordings on Frustration Overwhelmed by Frustration (Part 1) – Life Review and Overwhelmed by Frustration (Part 2) – Life Review where I could relate to the people sharing about this kind of experience which I can see in my life is something that I did acquire from my father based on how he would get anxious and exasperated whenever having to wait for my mother and my sisters to get out of the house ‘on time’ to get somewhere. It usually was a source of outbursts, at least temporarily that would be a ‘by default’ setting when we would all go out somewhere and even more so when traveling. I also decided back then to align more with my father’s way of perceiving punctuality to be a virtue, a ‘correct way’ in which life is lived and so, I can see how I have copy+pasted his anger, frustration, irritation, annoyance and exasperation whenever anything doesn’t happen as expected or one is late or something like that, it is just as if ‘all hell breaks loose.’
I noticed this form of control in me where I want to impose onto others that which I see is best, makes sense or is ‘expected’ to be done as a point of self-responsibility when it comes to ‘being on time’ somewhere, and if this is not the case and they don’t show up at the time they expected or don’t show up at all, it creates a bothering experience in me as if they were somehow ‘degrading’ themselves based on having agreed to be at certain meetings or events ‘on time.’
In the audio they explain how even if one may be able to see similar traits from our parents and have ‘lived them out’ as a form of hereditary character, it doesn’t mean that it should define ‘who we are’ entirely. And I agree and I’ve been paying more attention to this based on the traits that I see in both of my parents, and as I’ve been sharing, part of the ‘slowing down’ for me is also to let go of all kinds of control forms that emerge in similar ways to that which I would see my father would play out.
Here the relevant point for me to become aware of is to not have this ‘hereditary’ or ‘genetic trait’ as some kind of excuse to not change it in me, because I’ve seen how it affects my own well being and ‘who I am’ in a moment whenever I give into this kind of irritation, frustration, exasperation and annoyance when it comes to being on time or having things go ‘the way I expected.’ And as with everything, that ‘chain’ of traits needs to be stopped within me.
The Eqafe recordings are a conversation with someone that also learned certain traits from his father and how that is also affecting his own relationship with his children. In my case, this spills out in virtually any aspect where I kind of naturally place myself in a position of direction or leadership, the point is that it even happens in situations where I should not be taking such stance, which is another point to consider in how I sometimes take things ‘personally’ as if it was ‘my duty’ to be ‘on charge’ when I’m not, lol.
The thoughts I noticed within a recent situation where others arrived late to an agreed meeting and event had to do with holding a certain image of myself by association, as if such people’s actions in relation to ‘not being on time’ could ‘taint’ my own reputation, my ‘standing’ so to speak in the sense that I am usually careful with commitments and I act based on what I would like others to do towards me, such as being on time if it is an agreed point between all parties involved.
I noticed that my experience in a moment where others were not showing up on time was just causing more tension in me and therefore around me, because I reacted to what I perceived as lack of responsibility and integrity in the people that weren’t showing up as scheduled, in a way perceiving they were just not ‘taking it seriously.’
What did I do? I took a step ‘aside’ by myself for a moment to calm down, even if I wasn’t being overtly emotionally expressive about it, I noticed I was in fact causing myself to see everything as if it was a ‘big’ problem and with that, having thoughts about losing prestige, losing credibility, being treated as ‘less than’ because of being associated to people that ‘are not trustworthy’ or ‘not on time’ to what I define as important meetings or events. This is also influenced by my idea and perception that showing up early or being on time ‘is a quality that invariably denotes reliability and responsibility’… but, this is certainly not a rule.
I found it cool to hear to those Eqafe recordings and see that this was part of the suggestions whenever getting to a point of ‘boiling up with frustration,’ to take a step to the side so to speak to truly calm down and not spill out one’s reactions upon others, so I’m glad I did it, but it took some time to ‘cool down’ so to speak and because it took quite some time, I’m here to write it out and see what was really going on within me that was ‘upholding’ that frustration for longer than I would have wanted.
I see how I tend to do ‘whatever it takes’ to be usually on time, I really haven’t made myself as flexible in certain situations to be ‘ok’ with arriving late. However I recently also was on the ‘giving’ end of not arriving at an expected time and breaking such ‘punctuality’ pattern in me that prompted others to react to it. In this, I could reflect back or mirror myself to the kind of general fuss I create about people not being on time and associating that to ‘all the worst’ type of qualities in a person where I, for a moment, forget about everything of who the person or people are and I simply see all the ‘bad’ or ‘worse’ such as irresponsibility, carelessness, being unreliable, not trust worthy, taking things lightly, too lax about things, not being serious enough, irresponsible, neglectful and disrespectful of people’s time. All of these are of course aspects we can all have in our lives regardless of ‘being on time’- that’s for sure.
Now the interesting part in the event where others arrived late is that, it wasn’t even a meeting ‘with me’ per se, I could not directly do anything about it, yet I was going to partake in it. So why do I fear so much being ‘associated’ to others not being on time? Why haven’t I learned to ‘separate’ myself in a healthy manner from taking such kind of attitudes personally as if it was ‘me’ being irresponsible or lacking consideration of others’ time?
While I was on my own trying to calm down from the ‘boiling up’ experience of seeing others not arriving on time, I kept telling myself that probably others would not even notice or be as ‘aware’ of the time as I was. I kept telling myself that it might be something ‘usual’ for most to not have things start at the expected time… but it all seemed futile, because I essentially got stuck on the judgment towards the situation and the people involved as ‘below standard’ and deciding that ‘that was not a commendable type of attitude’.
In essence, the whole problem I had is ending up being seen as unreliable, not trustworthy at the eyes of others by association. The keywords here are related to ‘tarnishing’ my self-image in this kind of situation, instead of being able to take a step back and realize that other people’s lives, responsibilities and decisions are not in my hands to be able to ‘move them’ to be on time at a certain place or being able to ‘change others’ to commit to do something they had agreed to at a certain time.
This is another dimension of control and I noticed how much it still takes over in me, which I can look back at some memories where through yelling out, getting angry and frustrated my father would manage to get my mother and sisters to hurry up to leave the house and be ‘on time’ wherever we were going to – this is the ‘construct’ of it:
“If I get angry, yell out, show myself frowning, scream or essentially through a tantrum = then I will get people to hurry and do as I say because they will want me to calm down”. Of course this might have worked at home based on the whole organization there that was accepted and allowed – and one to which fortunately my mother has been able to stand up from and show my father how to ‘take things easier’ – but it’s a hard thing to change by now, though at least she doesn’t react or take it personally, which is great.
So, in my case, of course it’s kind of funny now looking back to pretend that by me showing an angry face or being frustrated, something will be ‘magically done’ to move people’s bodies to arrive on time… lol! Yes, getting angry, exasperated and trying to ‘curse at the world’ will do Nothing to change the situation, literally, it is just what it is: throwing a tantrum and expecting that to get me ‘what I am’ or my desired outcome, when in fact, of course, there was Nothing I could actually practically do to change the situation.
I’d say fortunately I didn’t cause much of a problem for others because I did ‘take a step back’ literally to not have my experience spill out onto others while sorting out the situation in the moment. But I do see how it did spoil my own experience that I had foreseen was going to be an enjoyable moment for me, and eventually after some 40 minutes or so I was able to see the frustration no longer ‘be active in me.’ What happened throughout those 40 minutes then? I participated but I still kept a very serious face as an attempt to ‘show’ those that had been late to the even that I wasn’t happy – but again, lol, what for?
I could have actually spoiled things further if my own frowning and frustration pout could cause others to notice it and impact how they experience themselves in a moment. Because! It is now part of my extended responsibility to know that if I show a certain stance, posture, facial expressions towards others, I am in fact deliberately intending to cause certain effect on them, to deliver a message of ‘I’m pissed’ and if such impression is aimed at having others ‘feel bad’ for ‘not being on time,’ then obviously this is not a ‘best for all’ type of decision, so… is that really who I want to be? Is that a solution? Is that an honorable way to stand in such moments? Nope, not at all. It only worsens things.
My justification to remain in such bothered state is that it was meant to be best for everyone to start on time. This is the justification, this is based on what I’ve held as ‘standard’ and ‘what is best’ in such a polarized way that anything that doesn’t remain in that square then triggers a negative experience – and that’s what needs to be change.
Did my ‘angry face’ changed anything? No. Was I able to prompt people to arrive ‘on time’ with such reaction? Nope! Did it really matter in the end? No, since other people were also late that were directly involved in the organization of the event. Did anyone seem to care to start some 5 minutes later? No, I don’t think so. Then, what is the REAL problem here?
There is no real problem in fact, because things unfolded as expected – later than at the ‘exact’ agreed time – but it still took place and I allowed myself to get back to my senses as everything unfolded, but it wasn’t an immediate ‘letting go’, I took some time to get to embody such flexibility and let go of all my justifications about ‘my bothersome state.’
So, this is truly about me stopping projecting my own standards and ‘perfectionism’ onto others when it is not something that even matters to most people. Perhaps it is part of being considerate of other people’s time, which I personally appreciate as a quality in people – but it is not something that entirely defines ‘who a person is.’ And at the same time, it is not in my hands to do anything about ‘others being late’ really, I have to learn to go with the flow of life, and life is not ultimately watching ‘every second’ in order to happen. This wasn’t a ‘pressing meeting’ or of some high command or officials… and even those I’ve seen how also allow themselves to have some flexibility based on ‘what needs to happen’ first. Therefore there wasn’t even such need to be ‘totally precise’ with the timing either –I need to have my context in consideration as well.
Even with myself and being on the other end of arriving a few minutes late and causing a reaction in others, I saw how much it becomes a ‘big problem’ in others if I allow myself to make a ‘big deal’ out of it as well, because I then justify such bothersome reaction in others for ‘me not arriving on time’ because! I basically do the same.
What is this thing with arriving on time? I’ve seen how I create some form of pride and uplifting experience if I manage to be ‘right on time’ somewhere, even if I have to rush and run at times to get there at the ‘exact time.’ For what? Well, for example my partner is someone that is usually quite on time and is one of the things I appreciate in him – as he does in me – and I have associated this quality with reliability. But I also see how we can lock each other up in such rigidity about ‘being on time’ because then we create this expectation of no-matter-what we will always, always be on time and this can actually cause inflexibility and an immediate trigger for emotions if for one reason one of us can’t be on time or other people that we agreed to meet up with can’t be ‘on time’ as expected.
Getting to know ‘the reasons’ behind the delay also expands my ability to understand how other’s lives unfold, what comes ‘in their way’ that I couldn’t have possibly considered before.
So this is another form of control that I need to let go of towards myself and towards others– and yes there’s resistance in it because of the associations I’ve attached to it – but it doesn’t mean I now will ‘arrive late’ or ‘not care about time’ at all. This is about growing some consideration, comprehension and being realistic about the many LIFE factors that lead any of us to not be able to be able to make it ‘on time’.
Does it make sense to imply that ‘someone is a person of integrity, self-respect, honor, responsibility, commitment, dedication, reliability and trustworthiness based on how punctual they are?’ No.
Does it make sense to ‘automatically imply that someone that is usually late or not arriving at all to certain meetings as someone that is unreliable, irresponsible, dishonest, lazy, careless, disrespectful, neglectful and inconsiderate towards others?’ No.
Someone can be always on time and be a person that is not genuinely living the best of themselves and vice versa, it can be a person that simply hasn’t aligned themselves to a proper scheduling method or hasn’t aligned the relationship to time, traveling or simply showing up to meetings at a certain time and hasn’t found a way to calculate the time it takes to get somewhere… or simply doesn’t truly care about ‘time’ either, and that should also be ‘fine’ on my side, because it may be a part of a certain person’s way of being.
There’s many factors to consider also based on the nature of the meetings – casual or too official/important that are time sensitive for various reasons – but ultimately, if the thing gets done and someone’s life doesn’t depend on it, then, I should be much more considerate of the many aspects that can cause delays or someone arriving later than expected, or something starting later than usual.
Of course this is also a self-honesty point, where if someone becomes unreliable based on repeated events where they don’t arrive on time or don’t show up at all, sure then the person might end up causing certain consequences as a result of that, and it’s ok as well, because how else do we get to see what we are doing if we don’t receive others’ feedback upon repeated moments of not being on time or not showing up to something that we had agreed to be a part of? It can cause one to be dismissed of a job or no longer being contacted or invited to be part of certain meetings, jobs, responsibilities, etc. or to be replaced by people that are more reliable in the context of time and being present. It really depends on what one is arriving ‘late’ to and also taking each case separately to understand what gets on the way to ‘getting there on time’ in our lives.
I realize I do hold high standards on this aspect and I am aware how I cause myself bitterness and tension when things don’t happen at the ‘expected time,’ and so because I see that this is something that is totally and absolutely in my hands to change, I have to be the one that creates an understanding within me of the many reasons why something could not start at the expected time and why people were late or delayed.
I also have to stop taking it as if it had something to do ‘with me’ personally or that could ‘affect me’ if I am not the one that is being late or not showing up… I consider that most of the times – if not all of the times – arriving late is not a deliberate thing. Or who knows, it may! But it should not matter either unless it causes problems or negative consequences if it becomes a repetitive pattern.
I also realize that my rigidity causes inner conflict – and therefore inner harm – more than an outer or reality conflict, because I can see how things simply end up unfolding as expected. Therefore I have to stop associating ‘being on time’ and punctuality as an invariable outflow of certain ‘honorable’ qualities in human beings, it might be so in some cases, not in others – but the only way to measure that is to learn to see people as a whole, not directly ‘label’ someone based on them being punctual or not.
In some cases I see I can extend a hand to share how I relate to time and how I prepare to get ‘on time’ to certain things and do so with others that I see are having a troublesome relationship with being on time or have problems with getting to plan things in a way that they don’t forget to do it. However, I have to make sure I have a clear starting point and not doing so with a ‘hidden agenda’ attempt of having others do things ‘my way’ – but simply share ways, examples, give suggestions while being aware that ultimately that’s as much as I can do – it is then up to each one to do it or not.
At times it simply is a matter of having reality play out and if the pattern repeats, then to see how to best address it by first cross-referencing with others to ensure I am not merely pointing things out based on a tunnel-vision idea I have of what ‘the problem’ is and, if sufficient people agree about seeing certain patterns or behaviors that are related to not being on time and becoming unreliable to ‘show up’ to certain events or meetings, then, further actions can be taken on, like assisting the person to become aware of the pattern and seeing what it causes, creating some sort of ‘penalty fees’ to ‘get the message’ if the point is already a repeated pattern – or if the case is extreme, to simply replace the person or people involved that may be more responsible in attending certain responsibility. I might be going way too ‘out there’ in planning out potential outflows, but, this is part of how I function in also practicing what I would ‘do’ in certain possible situations.
Intervening in others’ lives is not something I should aim at doing either, it should really be a last-resort type of thing and the ideal way would be to suggest them to ask for support if they recognize in themselves that they are having a hard time with commitment. That takes some deeper self-honest look and it might not be ‘the norm’ but, at times, consequences hit home and that’s when we wake up to see that we are doing something that is not leading to a beneficial outcome and needs to be changed, because it affects others.
So, for now this will be a test for me, to actually decide to breathe until I am settled again, no longer tensing my body and letting go of all the ‘worst of the worst’ associations to others or even a general situation not happening ‘on time’ or ‘as expected’ and realizing that reality happens, there’s a myriad reasons why something could not happen ‘as expected.’ This recently happened with a birthday meeting and I was rushing a lot to be on time and we got to realize that the meeting was almost ‘half an hour’ later and they usually tell people that it’s earlier because ‘no one arrives on time.’ This is a form of ‘known’ fact, a cultural thing of sorts where ‘no one usually arrives on time’ and so they invite people earlier than the actual start time, for them to actually ‘be on time.’ So, lol, this is then just part of those things I have to also take into consideration for meetings in general.
And in this, I also require to stop generating a sense of self-pride for ‘being right on time’ and feeling good about it. I can redefine it as a practical measure, see it for what it is: being on time enables things to take place as agreed, but I can also create space and a leeway for flexibility when it comes to being on time myself.
I could see it as well when I was late which was not even because I was genuinely out of my schedule, but simply because of not measuring the amount of time it would take me to get from point A. to point B. And I saw how inconsiderate I can be when being very ‘locked in’ within the idea of ‘always being on time’ which was completely reflecting myself back to myself in seeing how others reacted to me ‘not being on time’. In short, I got a scoop of my own chocolate as the saying goes here, and seeing how much one can be ‘short sighted’ to not consider reality play outs and the outflow of situations that can change the course of things, even if having previously ‘planned it.’
So as with everything, there’s a balancing point. At times it takes the consideration of letting others know something like ‘hey I will be arriving later than expected’ I always appreciate that, but what has happened at times is that I get so hooked on the idea that ‘I can make it! I can arrive on time!’ that I end up not sending such notices and it causes more misunderstandings if I don’t communicate that I am arriving later or the reason why I haven’t arrived somewhere, or why I won’t be able to make it at all.
Another point is to consider other aspects like lack of communication. I’ve gotten so used to being able to communicate with my phone, but who knows if one day I have no battery, no internet, no credit to send out any message or ‘left it at home’… then I would have to also consider that this could happen to others and not freak out about it, lol.
There’s also the potential of ‘getting lost’ in arriving somewhere, or arriving ‘on time’ but to the wrong spot, or ‘at the wrong time’ like one hour earlier or later. These are all real life situations that have happened and I rather decide to laugh about it, I totally appreciate seeing how others take these situations with laughter and taking it easy – whereas in me the tendency is to tense up and ‘just boil!’ lol –I really, really need to learn from them and chill out with these ‘being on time’ events.
And of course if someone that I am directly responsible for or directly co-working with is presenting such patterns in a repeated manner, I then have more of a say in being able to call the point out and perhaps even assisting the other person to remember certain things. I have no problem with that if I see that to me planning and being on time is more of a natural ‘trait’ so to speak, while also not making others dependent on me to organize their lives… or perhaps it can be a job position and I would have no problem in doing so! But even then, it’s even cooler when such job becomes more of an example of how things can get done and the other person can learn for themselves how to get to do things or be on time.
There’s many other aspects I could list here, but I just have to be aware and considerate of my relationship to this point in my life.
I also appreciate feedback on this one considering how ingrained such aspect of ‘being on time’ and defining myself as ‘a punctual person’ and even taking pride on it as a positive experience, which has led me to associate the opposite polarity to anything or anyone that I label as ‘not being on time’ or lacking punctuality. This stops here and I have to live now my new relationship to ‘being on time’ in meetings.
Ultimately it is about myself getting over the judgment of having things and people start late, be late in general and at the same time not being so hard on myself If I also don’t make it to on time and immediately associating ‘being late’ with ‘the worst of the worst’ for doing so, because now I understand: that’s all in my head, those are all my associations, not others’. If I have a genuine problem then, I have to seek out support to get somewhere or do something if it is a ‘sensitive’ situation. That’s about as far as I can see for now.
And even with all of this, I am sure there will be times where the most unexpected thing can cause a delay in something or in someone’s path to arrive or be somewhere. And that is OK, I need to learn how to flow with the flow of life instead of being entrenched in an ‘ideal’ of ‘how things should be’ and be OK if things are out of my control as well, reminding myself I can only support me and handle my situation or the situation according to the context and timing it is.
Ok that’s it, thanks for reading and any feedback that is aimed at expanding perspectives on solutions or ways of approaching these situations is welcomed J
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