In today’s fast-paced world of “immediate everything,” patience seems in short supply. Add in the holiday hustle and bustle and being patient truly becomes a virtue! This season, practice patience and reap the benefits of a happier and healthier you.
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” ~ John Quincy Adams
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait — it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” ~ Joyce Meyer
The Many Virtues of Patience
Patience is a Practice
No doubt about it: Being patient is hard. No one likes sitting in traffic, standing in the ‘slow’ line, waiting for a goal to materialize, or even pausing the few seconds it takes for a web page to load! Keep in mind that most anything worthwhile takes time and effort.
Consider the tongue-in-cheek statement, “I need patience – and I need it now!” The irony of patience is that it takes time to learn – exactly what the impatient person feels short on. Next time you feel frustrated, irritable, or in danger of losing your cool, take a deep breath and commit to practicing patience.
Patience Brings Peace
Fortunately, the benefits of patience are worth the wait. Patience increases your personal power and presence. The greatest reward is inner strength and well-being. Patience also helps you reduce stress, make better decisions, cope with life’s challenges, and become a kinder, more tolerant person.
Power Flows from Patience
In her book The Power of Patience, M. J. Ryan (one of my favorite self-help authors) says having patience with yourself, with others, and with life’s ups and downs determines your peace of mind. She views patience as the combination of three awesome qualities of mind and heart:
- Persistence, the steadfast ability to work toward your goals and dreams;
- Serenity, a calmness of spirit and clear perspective; and
- Acceptance, the ability to respond to obstacles with courage, strength, and optimism.
With all that in mind, why wouldn’t you choose patience?
Patience can be perceived as inaction or weakness because it feels slow and gentle. Don’t be fooled: Patience is power. Choosing patience is choosing action over reaction: waiting, listening to your intuition, then taking purposeful action. You may not have control over a situation, but you do have control over your reaction. As Benjamin Franklin said: “He that can have patience can have what he will.”
Tips to Increase Patience
Here are a few simple ways to practice and strengthen your patience:
- Reframe the situation. New possibilities and solutions appear when you change your perspective. When facing a patience-testing situation, ask yourself: “How else can I view this situation to increase the possibility of a positive outcome or greater peace of mind?”
- Be empathetic. Filter every situation through the lens of compassion and tolerance, and offer the same generosity to yourself.
- Take a mental vacation. When you feel yourself losing patience, visualize your most peaceful and relaxing place. See, hear, and feel yourself there — then notice how much calmer you feel.
- Keep it in perspective. Impatience makes small things feel big. The next time a slow-moving line has you gritting your teeth, remind yourself of the relative unimportance a few minutes delay will have on the rest of your day, week, or year. Build “buffer zones” of extra time into your schedule so when things don’t go according to plan, it wreaks less havoc on your day.
- Set realistic expectations. Impatience percolates when you set unreasonable expectations for yourself and others, especially during the holidays! As you spend time with family and friends, be mindful of expectations that are more rooted in a holiday movie fantasy than in real life. And when you feel overloaded and overwhelmed, remember to reach out to others for help and support.
Focus on the Future
Our Leap Forward Coaching process will help you find the power in patience. Our thoughtful methods will teach you to balance patience and action for your most peaceful and fulfilling life.
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© 2016, Leap Forward Coaching