Have you ever heard the cliche “Patience is a virtue”? My mother, who seldom exercised patience, often said it. Perhaps, as a reminder to herself? She was a busy woman and a healthcare professional. She was driven … focused on results … and eager to see them. My grandmother never uttered the cliche, but she had an abundance of patience. She was a very prolific gardener. I’ve seen her take a sprig from a bush … put it in some water … and nurture it into a large plant. She had the ability to sit back on the porch … watch … wait. And me? I’m somewhere between the two — not as impatient as Mom or as patient as Granny. I have my limits. We all do. Life isn’t perfect. We aren’t perfect. Things can and do get crazy … overwhelming … and stressful. But that’s where patience comes in. It helps us to juggle it all.
From the psychological standpoint, patience is actually a coping mechanism. When a person uses patience, they aren’t giving up. They are utilizing a constructive method to reach their goals. Impatience comes from an individual’s inability to withstand certain situations or emotions. Did you know that when a person becomes more confident about winning or attaining their goal, they also become more patient? Hmmm.
Biblically, we are taught that patience is a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22). It’s a wondrous thing like joy, love, peace, kindness, goodness, self-control, etc. A true gift. And embracing patience makes life more enjoyable. Imagine that.
We are living in some very stressful times. If you aren’t patient, by nature, there is still hope. Here are ways to train yourself:
- Understand & Counteract Your Triggers. What do you think of, or feel, just before you lose it? When you feel this building-up, you can counter it with calming exercises.
- Increase Your Self Confidence. Impatience is more likely to appear, when you feel let down or losing control. When you are confident, you will work with the situation as it is, instead of becoming combative.
- Look For The Positive. Patience is a matter of perspective. Turn a negative into a positive. For example, if the elevator is out-of-order at work … you can get healthy exercise using the stairs.
- Change Your Attitude. Most people who struggle with patience can’t answer a simple question: Why are you in a hurry? Focus on the task — not the speed that you are doing it.
- Release Tension & Stress In A Positive Way. This can be done through exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, etc. Give yourself some “Me Time” for a nap, a leisurely bath, or a good book. It helps tremendously.
Last, but not least, love yourself. Instead of being so hard on you, try compassion. Try understanding. You don’t need more stress in your life. None of us do. Chronic stress brings even more problems to the table. But if you learn to cope, with a dose of patience — that’s the key to happiness!
*Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash