Driving in Northern California has tested my patience more than a few times. Going the short distance to Costco in the middle of the day on a Tuesday shouldn’t be an hour commute, but due to traffic and other hold-ups, sometimes it is. The other day I caught myself waving my hands and getting upset when a large truck cut in front of me. I took a deep breath and thought, “We’re all doing the best we can, and I will get there when I get there.”
There are things in life that are out of our control, and I see people lose their s*** while driving, waiting for a table at a restaurant, or trying to get to Costco on a Tuesday.
I laughed at myself and thought of the phrase, “Patience is a virtue.” There was nothing virtuous about my reaction that day, but it made me think about how we can bring a little more patience into our lives, and the benefits of keeping our composure in situations we find ourselves in on a daily basis.
Here are some tips and benefits of finding a little more patience.
1. Less stress. We can only control what we are doing and how we react to situations. We tend to get upset when someone doesn’t do what we want them to. Learning to recognize that we can’t control another human being will be less stress on you. You can give all the advice and counseling in the world, but what someone does with it, is up to them. We need to keep our stress level in check for our own health and well-being.
2. Learn to take a breath. Take that pause, that breath, before you respond to something that is upsetting. We may find ourselves biting someone’s head off, but if we had just taken a breath, we might have phrased our disappointment a little differently. We can save ourselves from having to apologize later if we take a moment and think before we speak.
3. Life is not instant gratification. We expect things in life to happen now, this minute, this instant. We want love now, we want our promotion, we want things to work out today. What we are striving for in our lives, takes time. We can get impatient, and when it doesn’t happen in our timeline, we give up. What if you had given it another month? What if you kept working at it a little longer? Would it have turned out as you had hoped?
4. We are all doing the best we can. Now some might argue that the person you are angry at isn’t doing the best they can. We cannot control another person; we can’t make them more motivated, more interested in their job, more loving, fill in the blank. In this moment, do the best you can do, and hopefully, those around you will do the same.
Finding a little more patience can help us be more in the present moment, not so reactionary and hopefully less stressed. I’m a work in progress just like everyone else, and knowing that patience takes practice allows me to recognize when I’m waving my hands at a truck driver, that I’m doing the best I can at that moment, take a breath and be a little more patient.
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