In my last article we talked about how to improve patience with a few tips like getting a new perspective by observing other cultures. I also talked a bit about my personal definition of patience.
“I define patience as my personal capacity to accept with grace any delay, challenge, or discomfort without getting pissed-off or silently judging others.”
In this article I want to approach the topic of how to exhibit patience when we are faced with a challenge. Overall, I would have to say that most of us try to exercise patience in most situations. However, it can be particularly challenging to practice patience when we are confronted with adversity. What can we remember that can support our efforts? Here are a few things to consider.
What Causes Impatience?
Often when I am trying to figure out how to do more or less of something, the first thing I try to identify is what causes the behavior. For example, when my daughter on the autism spectrum begins to scream her head off for what seems like no reason, yelling at her to tell her to stop isn’t going to make her stop. In fact, if I yell at her without first finding the cause of her frustration, she is going to yell louder and longer.
What do I do then? I work to be more aware and see if I can find out what might have set her off. Usually it is something on a YouTube video that made her sad or the iPad died because it wasn’t charged all the way. Those situations are both much easier to resolve then her being upset because she was yelled at. I try to apply the same type of awareness to what is causing me to exhibit impatience.
Look around and see if the cause of your impatience is people or situations. Some of us are significantly more patient with people, but we might be less so with certain circumstances. If you read my last article you might recall that when I am cut off in traffic, I am very impatient. However, when my daughter yells out of frustration, I am much more patient.
What if other peoples’ behaviors are what set you off? Maybe learn to acknowledge and accept that everyone is different. Whether you like it or not, there is no way to escape dealing with people. We will constantly come across people that rub us the wrong way. The best way to deal with people is to communicate effectively and understand that we do not see things the same way due to different personalities, background, and perceptions. It might also be helpful to realize that often behavior is just another form of communication. Perhaps they are trying to ask for help or need support and that is the cause of their acting out.
Yet, what it certain circumstances cause you to lose your temper? You could try to avoid those circumstances or understand that the circumstance you face may be a learning experience and embrace it. I am still not sure what I am supposed to learn about myself or the world from jerks cutting me off in traffic, but I guess I am willing to try to see what lesson might be found in my challenge.
Often what makes us mature and develop a patient attitude is dealing with adversity. Unlike what you heard in the Forest Gump movie; life is not a box of chocolates. Sometimes life will be sweet, but other times it will be bittersweet and downright awful. The bottom line is if you can change your circumstance or the influence people have over you, then do it. But if you can’t, then try to work through it.
Short Music Interlude: I couldn’t get this song out of my head while I was writing this post.
Just Relax Cat
I think about every 60’s movie that my parents watched and remember hearing the characters say things like “Just relax man” or “Be cool cat” or things like that. Then I look around at every cat picture on the internet and I realize they are right. If you ever look at a cat lounging, they spend most of their life sleeping, relaxing, playing, or hunting.
The best way to be patient is to learn to relax like a cat when things come up that suck. When you relax you can think better and are less likely to make crappy decisions. When you relax you can decrease stress and frustration. Take a few deep breaths if you can. Focus on your breathing and clearing your negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. If nothing else, search funny cat videos on YouTube and you will at least laugh a bit of stress away.
Focus on What’s Important
The good news about all this is that most things that cause impatient behaviors are temporary. However, the advantages of being patient are it helps to focus on the future or the outcome of things and not just the present situation. People who are patient also do not rush to get things done. They concentrate on the big picture. Instead of looking at the potholes in the street, try focusing on your destination.
Besides, there are so many more important things to worry about. I think of the big picture. For me, that is my family. I have four children and two four-legged children that I want to be a good example for. I also want to be able to come home to them, and if I get into a car accident because I am screaming like a banshee out the door at the idiot that me off and I hit a telephone pole – that doesn’t do anyone any good.
What do you do to help improve your ability to stay patient in the face of adversity?
Here are a few articles from fellow Medium writers that provide additional insights.
And, as always, if you need more support in creating positive habits in work or in life reach out to me or one of the many other amazing coaches on coach.me to get support.