Patience is one of the hardest things to develop if you don’t already have a natural disposition for it. I certainly have good days and bad days as far as having patience is concerned.
But, how do we develop this when we’re so used to just being irritated so quickly when we don’t get the instant or close enough to instant results? This is something that perplexes so many around the world, but it seems especially true for those living more comfortably than others.
I’ll take you through the steps to defining the root of the problem, having the willingness to take control of your impulses and making steady improvements in obtaining patience (or better patience if you already have a bit).
Define the Root
What are the most common things you have no patience over? Is it just a few things or do you have a long list that could fill a set of encyclopedias?
Make a list of the things that set you off the quickest. Study this list for a moment. How important is each item? Is it something that creates lingering frustration or just an in the moment aggravation?
Once you’ve gone through these, make another list. This should be of things that you have a slightly better patience for. Again, study these. Decide how long the effects of each item have on you.
Alright! You’ve figured out where your worst patience points are!
Willingness to Control Your Impulses
Ok, take a moment to clear your mind. Now, look at your lists. What item causes the most amount of anger? And which one the least?
We’ll start with the worst one. Think about this particular thing that makes you angry immediately.
Why does is make you angry? Are you worried about losing a minute of your day, or is it more time draining than that? Realize what about this event kills your patience so quickly.
Is there something you can do to control your initial reaction? Make a goal that next time this happens, just think about why is this so important? Do I need to get this angry over what’s going on right now?
Once you start training your mind to stop, think and decide how to react, your patience will become better with practice. Is what’s going on really that important in the long run? Or is it something better off left alone?
Start this practice with just a few things on your list and work your way forward. If you don’t like lists, then just mentally set a plan for how to react next time.
If that seems too much at first, then when you’re in the moment, feeling angry, stop. Just completely take your mind to a different topic. When you distract yourself with something completely different, it’ll be easier to calm down sooner, you’ll think clearer. You can go on your merry way.
If you have a favorite song that has a calming effect, and I’m not talking about something that screams/shouts or glorifies obscene things, maybe have that song on hand to listen to when you feel you’re losing your patience. Or hum it to yourself.
I know, I know, ‘but it’s much easier to just be mad!’ or ‘I don’t have time to do this!’. Do you enjoy getting angry over things so quickly? Or would you rather feel more peaceful with the life around you?
Making Steady Improvements
So you’ve got your lists (physical or mental), keep track of these. Look at them, ponder them, try to create different reactions for them.
Practice. Practice them hard. You probably won’t get it right away and that’s fine! Above all, you NEED to have patience with YOURSELF! Nobody truly gets something done right the first time, you shouldn’t expect it from yourself.
And if you find that this method isn’t working, in the moment of anger, just stop. Breathe for a minute, if you have the chance to do so anyway. Just breathe. The patience will come, but, and this is the irony of it all, it takes patience to develop patience. This is why it’s one of the hardest things to develop if you haven’t already.
I’d say too that if possible, if you can completely eliminate some of the things bothering you so much, more the better. Like, if it has to do with an event that happens while you’re driving, if you can avoid it by going a different route, perhaps try that for a while. Things like that could make a huge difference.
The one that really works best for me is to distract myself. Not that I can’t handle the method of deciding what’s most important in the long run, but sometimes, you just really have to distract yourself. When I feel myself losing patience, especially over something that isn’t a big deal, I think of something totally off topic. I have a deep, vivid imagination so usually this isn’t hard.
Alright, you made it this far, go you! So, we define the root of the problem, the why, the what, the who, whichever. We come up with the plan of action to change our reaction. Then we implement and try to make steady progress.
You’re on your way to better patience! Just keep trying, remember it’s ok to not have it perfect right away (I mean, are any of us truly perfect when it comes to this?). Think of the impact and impression you want to leave in the world around you. Do you wanna be the person who snaps all the time, or the one who can handle life much more calmly?
Patience is one of the best skills to have, so keep trying 🙂