When I wait too long with an uncomfortable situation, and I show patience or tolerance, in fact, a boiling process has started. I might have started of with genuine patience towards that situation, but I forgot somehow to express the end of it. When my patience ends, I could just bluntly tell, and nothing would happen. Or something might happen to alleviate the discomfort. But there would be no boiling over.
What happens however is that my politeness makes me change unnoticed from genuine patience or tolerance to a form of ‘theatre’ patience. What could have been a genuine and polite expression of discomfort now grows into a fire under a pressure cooker. I am in fact repressing my expression of discomfort.
Most of the time, without the expression of discomfort, the temperature rises. This can happen slow or fast, depending on the person or the circumstances. Usually, discomfort doesn’t solve itself by politely waiting. So in most cases, the temperature and the pressure rise, and rise until there is a polished up expression of anger (safety valve – with anger inside) or a violent verbal explosion. The anger or aggression is now being released into the wild, ready to infect others involved.
Two simple examples:
So next time, when I give my 12 y.o. the assignment of doing the dishes, I should also inform her of the time frame within which I expect her to have the thing done. That time has to be equal but preferably less than my real patience.
Or next time I notice that someone didn’t close the toothpaste, I will tell them long before my real patience runs out.