Perhaps one of our hardest challenges in our world today is having patience. Our lives are so incredibly full, busy, demanding, and immediate (when you want something, you can get it pretty fast with technology) and patience is often a forgotten quality. I hear lots of women saying that they wish they were more patient, but in all honesty, how many of us truly want to put in the effort to become more patient? Did you know you CAN train yourself to become patient?
In the Oxford Dictionary, patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” This definition is rather negative as it’s almost like saying that patience is tolerating something bad happening to us.
Patience is when you let things be and unfold as they should
I see patience a little differently. To me patience is when you let things be and unfold as they should without trying to hurry them along. It’s about allowing things to happen in their own time. It’s about letting things be just as they are. Nature is a great analogy for patience. We can’t force trees to shed their leaves when Autumn comes. Trees shed their leaves in their own time, always around Autumn, but always without our intervention. It’s the same with a butterfly in a chrysalis. The butterfly emerges when it’s ready, in its own time, not when we decide it should happen.
This is not to say that you just give up without making things happen in your life. That’s not what patience is about. Patience is about relaxing into things and letting them unfold as they should without ‘forcing’ them to happen in your own timeframe. Rather than trying to get some place else where it’s better than what you have right now, patience puts you in the present moment and it slows you down. Patience is all about being fully present with acceptance of how things are in that moment.
Life starts to slow down
When you start to accept (and acceptance is key here) that things or events happen in their own time, then you can use that time waiting more productively, rather than getting caught up in the thoughts, feelings and emotions you typically experience when something doesn’t happen as fast, or as you would like it to. When you view life through this lens, you will observe that life starts to slow down a bit. Or more accurately, YOU start to slow down. And when you slow down and take things in your own stride, you are calmer, more peaceful, more relaxed, more accepting and generally happier. And funnily enough, that’s when things start to happen.
When you embody patience your relationships will change for the better
If you think you lack patience, then this doesn’t mean that this is how it’s got to be. You can learn to become more patient by retraining yourself through simple mindfulness techniques. And life can still be busy around you, but it’s your relationship to this busyness that changes.
When you become more patient and begin to embody patience, you will not only be more calm, peaceful, grounded and happier but your relationships will change for the better. You will start responding with tolerance rather than with anger or frustration or dare I say it, impatience, when things don’t happen as fast, or as you’d like them to happen. Your world will slow down to a more manageable level and you will be less inclined to suffer the effects of our lifestyle that creates stress, anxiety, health related problems, depression and unhappiness. The best thing about becoming more patient though is that EVERYONE around you benefits, not just you.
Here are a few tips where you can train yourself to become more patient – where you can begin to grow an attitude of patience in your life. Try and implement them during the day and see what works for you.
- Take time to just stop during your day and breathe, especially if you have a deadline looming or are very busy. Breathing is the most natural thing in the world, yet we’re not aware of it most of the time. Simply taking a few deep breaths during the day helps bring you in the present moment – right here, right now. It takes you out of the ‘clock’ mode most of us operate from.
- If you’re used to operating at a really quick pace and you get annoyed at other’s lack of speed, take a moment to reflect what’s really going on for you. What’s the rush really about? What’s happening in your body when you’re feeling rushed?
- When you’re brushing your teeth, become very aware of what you’re doing and really take time to clean them properly. Don’t let it just become a habit that you’ve got to get over and done with quickly.
- Try doing something creative in the day whether it’s a crossword puzzle, a little drawing or something that you personally find creative. Give yourself time to do this wholeheartedly without rushing.
- If you’re driving in your car to work, try letting a couple of cars go in front of you. When you do, smile and know that you’ve probably just made someone’s day.
As a Women’s Coach and a Mindfulness at Work trainer there are many tools to learn to become more patient. If you’re interested in either coaching or mindfulness, please go to my contact page to get in touch.