Hmm…talk about a challenging subject. I think nearly all of us can stand to improve on patience in some way. How patient are you? Think about how many times we wait in a day’s time. We wait for airplanes, taxis, Uber or Lyft drivers, buses, other cars; for events to start or vacations to start; for someone to call, the right mate to come along, someone to arrive; food to cook, holidays to arrive; babies to be born; someone to have surgery, someone to feel better, and for people to come out of the restroom. If we think about it, we do a heck of a lot of waiting for many reasons.
When you sit in a waiting room at a doctor’s office or stand in line in a store, how long does your wait take before you start getting antsy or feeling irritated? Do you ever become impatient in traffic? This post on How to be Patient offers some tips for the lifelong process that we all go through. There’s no escaping it. We have plenty of opportunities to improve our patience, whether it’s traffic, relatives, friends, spouses, co-workers, shopping adventures, sales calls, etc. While most of us strive to have a healthy balance with patience, we can find it very hard to do.
Here’s what we’ll discuss in this post.
- Patience Defined
- Assess Where You are Now
- How to be Patient
So by the time you finish reading this post, you will have some things to implement.
What is Patience?
The Wikipedia definition of patience “is the ability to endure difficult circumstances such as perseverance in the face of delay; tolerance of provocation without responding in annoyance/anger; or forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can have before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.”
What do you think of the Wikipedia definition of patience? How are you doing with that in your life the way they define it? Sometimes the circumstances of the day, the environment, as well as certain people, make maintaining patience seem like an impossible task. Having worked closely with all kinds of people in diverse situations in healthcare, case management, higher education, and business, I have worked hard at being patient. Sometimes every few minutes!
Assess Where You Are Now
So to think about where you are right now with patience, let’s consider this list.
- How quickly do you get impatient?
- Is it being in a specific situation that instantly makes you upset or are you pretty even-tempered and keep your cool?
- Does it take a lot for people to get on your last good nerve or are all of your good nerves shot most of the time? You know I had to go there! 🙂
- What triggers your impatience?
- How do you get past being upset when you are impatient with someone?
- What have you learned to do when impatience shows up?
At this point in life, you are likely well aware of what triggers your impatience. Maybe it’s that you’ve trained others in providing good customer service, but when you go shopping and experience poor customer service from uncaring staff, that you lose your patience. Maybe other drivers are not moving as fast as you want them to when you have to get to an appointment. Does your temper flare? Hopefully not!!! Those closest to you know you well and might easily push your buttons—if you let them. Stay calm and practice being patient with them. You’ll feel better about yourself.
How to Be Patient
To me, patience means learning to pause wait, listen, and respond in a way that will not further stress those involved. Am I able to do that well all the time? Nope, but I keep working at it and keep getting better. When I get it wrong, I go back and apologize. Patience is all about hanging in there when things get rough and keeping a good attitude. That’s no small order!
Below I’ve listed some starter tips for being more patient.
- Steer clear of the things and the people that stress you and make you impatient
- Make time for regular exercise
- Look for the positives in your situations
- Get over being instantly gratified
- Avoid obsessing about things
- Learn to let it go quickly—there are bigger issues in life
- Lighten up on yourself and on others
- See things that make you impatient as opportunities to take your coping skills to a new level
- Look for ways to be generous and to serve others—even in your situations that make you impatient
- Be more considerate of and compassionate toward others and their situations
- Work on your listening skills
- Practice staying calm
Sometimes the people we get impatient with maybe those who have disabilities or who are older or younger and who are doing the best they can. Unless we know the person waiting in line in front of us at the grocery store or the clothing store or struggling to get to their car, we have no idea what kind of traumas and losses they have encountered in life or are in the midst of when we see them in these situations. So rather than make comments about them, look for ways you can lend a hand. At least that way you’ll be taking action to change the situation for the better, rather than standing there getting upset.
Taking time to see things from someone else’s perspective can help increase our patience. In fact, I have found it important to get God’s perspective on my situations. He calls us to love others and to be patient with them, just like He is with us. How can we do that? I’ve learned to ask for His help in all of my situations. Also, I’ve learned to trust Him and know that He wants to help me. I tell Him that I really need to draw on His patience every day as I live my life. Since I believe in Jesus, I know I can’t go wrong by simply asking for His help. Like any great father who loves his kids, He loves us and wants to be involved in our lives.
We’ve looked at the definition of patience, looked inward a bit to think about how we are currently handling situations that make us impatient, and we’ve discussed some tips to apply immediately to mature in our patience. Like I said earlier, when we use opportunities to grow our patience, we will feel better about ourselves.
I would love to hear about an experience where you handled the situation patiently and saw good results. We’re all in this growing our patience thing together, so I look forward to what you share. Thank you for reading my post.
Your Rebuilding Lives Coach,