Once peace of mind became the most important thing to me -- more important that my work, my relationships, and my 401K -- I began to look at things differently. I saw that I had developed many habits of thinking that were not peace bringing. I saw that every time I reacted negative to the people and situations in my life I was giving away my peace -- most often to people I didn't even know!
Reacting impatiently when I am held up in traffic is a prime example: I start to worry that I am going to be late and then I begin to feel anxious. My anxiety grows and I start the blame game. Sometime, if I'm in a taxi, I make it driver's fault. Other times it's the idiot in front of me who's driving too slow. Some days it seems the whole world is conspiring against me, making it impossible for me to reach my destination on time. Yelling at the taxi driver, blowing my horn and generally just hating every other driver on the road only serves to make me more upset.
A few years ago, I came to realize that I was squandering many hours of my life in fear and anger and upset. This impatience in traffic is just one example. I had become "sick and tired" of this behavior. I wanted to change, but how?
When I became willing look for causes and conditions in Step Four, I was led to the truth. I was shown that a major cause of my impatience was perfectionism, the fear that unless I do everything perfectly, you will judge me unworthy on some level. As a recovering perfectionist I must make it OK to be late sometimes. When I allow myself to be late -- to be human -- my impatience in traffic almost disappeared!
Today, after a few years of practice, when I start to feel anxious and impatient, I hear this message: "Hey, it's time to practice patience." As I continue to practice patience, the situations in my life that cause me to become anxious and lose my peace are fewer and fewer.