It has never been easy to be patient, but it’s probably harder now than at any time in history. In a world in which messages can be sent across the world instantly, in which seemingly everything is available for immediate purchase with a few clicks of the mouse, it’s hard not to always expect instant gratification. But patience remains a valuable tool in life. We don’t always get instant gratification, and some of the best things in life require years of hard work and waiting. Fortunately, patience is a virtue that can be cultivated and nurtured.
- Try to figure out why you’re in such a hurry. We tend to lose our patience when we’re multi-tasking or when we’re on a tight schedule. If you’re stretching yourself too thin, you should reconsider your to-do list before you attempt to change your natural reaction to an overwhelming situation. Try to spread out your tasks so that you’re doing only one thing at a time. Delegate responsibilities to others if you can; this in itself may be a test of your patience, but you have to learn to share the load.
- Pinpoint the triggers that often make you lose your patience. Impatience creeps in insidiously, and if you feel anxious, worried, or unhappy you may not even realize that the underlying cause of these feelings is impatience. To reduce the frequency of impatience, it helps to be aware of it. Which events, people, phrases or circumstances always seem to make you lose your cool? Sit down and make a list of all the things which cause you anxiety, tension, or frustration. At the core of most triggers is a reality that we have a hard time accepting. What are those realities for you?
- Overcome bouts of impatience. In the long run, developing patience requires a change in your attitude about life, but you can immediately make progress by learning to relax whenever you feel impatient. Take a few deep breaths and just try to clear your mind. Concentrate on breathing and you’ll be able to get your bearings.
- Look for patterns. Being aware of your impatience also gives you a chance to learn from it and perhaps uncover a relationship or circumstance that is simply not healthy or constructive, and that you may have the power to change. Figure that out, and you can then think logically about the problem issue and decide whether or not your impatience is warranted or helpful. It usually isn’t, but when it is you can then figure out ways to fix the root problem rather than simply feeling stressed about it.
- Let go if you can’t do anything about the impatience trigger. If there isn’t anything that you can do to resolve whatever has triggered your impatience, just let it go. Easier said than done, yes, but it’s possible, and it’s the only healthy thing to do. Initially, you will probably find it difficult to let go if the matter is important to you–waiting to hear back after a job interview, for instance–but you should be able to alleviate impatience that’s caused by issues of less consequence (i.e. waiting in line at the grocery store). If you make a concerted effort to be more patient in relatively inconsequential, short-term situations, you’ll gradually develop the strength to remain patient in even the most trying and enduring situations.
- Remind yourself that things take time. People who are impatient are people who insist on getting things done now and don’t like to waste time. However, some things just can’t be rushed. Think about your happiest memories. Chances are, they were instances when your patience paid off, like when you worked steadily towards a goal that wasn’t immediately gratifying, or took a little extra time to spend leisurely with a loved one. Would you have those memories if you had been impatient? Probably not. Almost anything really good in life takes time and dedication, and if you’re impatient, you’re more likely to give up on relationships, goals, and other things that are important to you. Good things may not always come to those who wait, but most good things that do come don’t come right away.
- Expect the unexpected. Yes, you have plans, but things don’t always work out as planned. Accept the twist and turns in life gracefully. Keep your expectations realistic. This applies not only to circumstances, but also the behavior of those around you. If you find yourself blowing up over your child or your spouse accidentally spilling a drink, you’re not in touch with the fact that people aren’t perfect. Even if the occasion is not an isolated incident but is instead caused by their repeated neglect and carelessness, losing your patience isn’t going to make it any better. That’s something to be addressed with discussion and self-control.
- Give yourself a break. The meaning of this is twofold. First, take a few minutes to do absolutely nothing. Just sit quietly and think. Don’t watch television; don’t even read. Do nothing. It may be hard at first, and you may even feel pretty impatient after a minute or two, but by taking some time out you can essentially slow your world down, and that’s important to develop the attitude necessary to develop patience. Second, stop holding yourself and the world around you to unreachable standards. Sure, we’d all be more patient if babies didn’t cry, dishes didn’t break, computers didn’t crash, and people didn’t make mistakes–but that’s never going to happen. Expecting the world to run smoothly is like beating your head against the wall. Give yourself a break.
- Remember what matters. Not focusing on what matters most in this life fuels impatience. Moving the world toward peace by being kind, generous in forgiveness of others, being grateful for what is, and taking full advantage of what matters most. When other less important things fuel our impatience, taking time to remember any one of these items reduces our tendency to want something different right now.
Article from WikiHow