Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back
into the slow circles of nature, is a help. – May Sarton
Patience has never been my strong suit. My mother used to tease me about being impatient when I was little, and apparently, I haven’t changed much since then, because being patient is still a challenge for me. Oddly enough, I became a writer. If there’s anything that requires more patience than sitting in front of a blank screen, waiting to turn it into a book, I don’t know what is. For some reason, I can be patient with the writing process, but in other situations, I find it challenging.
Patience comes with wisdom, and you can learn to be more patient. Ironically, it takes patience to learn to be patient. The following tips can help:
Identify your triggers. Figure out what sets you off. Is it something a family member or co-worker does? Do you become impatient in certain situations, such as being on hold? For some people, physical triggers such as hunger, fatigue or thirst can trigger impatience. Identifying your triggers can help you anticipate and come up with strategies to manage your impatience better.
Breathe. Taking slow, deep breaths can help you remain patient.
Slow down. Force yourself to speak more slowly, or move more slowly. Acting “as if” you’re patient may actually make you more patient.
Remember what’s important. We often get impatient over the silliest little things. The world is not going to end because the person in line in front of you is digging through her change purse.
Manage your emotions. You may not have a choice over the reason that’s keeping you waiting, but you do have a choice how you react. You can choose to be patient, or you can choose not to be. While choosing to be patient may not change the outcome, it will make you feel better.
Laugh. Impatience is frequently the result of taking life too seriously. Instead of reacting with anger or frustration, choose to find the humor in the situation.
Cats are masters at teaching us about patience. Have you ever watched a cat stalk his prey (or, in the case of our housecats, a toy)? They will patiently wait until they think the time is right to pounce.
Is being patient challenging for you? What has helped you be more patient?
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