“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer
Patience is an art. Cultivating it takes practice and intent. Being patient, with ourselves, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors or our own parents requires remembering that not everything can happen according to (our) plan.
Take a look at what triggers you to lose your patience. When my kids were young, I tended to lose my patience early in the morning, late at night, or whenever we had to get out the door on time. Trigger number two was if I was tired or hungry, or both.
You can’t eliminate these situations from your life, but you can alter the way you respond.
Take these familiar scenarios: You’re exasperated that your child still hasn’t put on his pajamas and it’s past bedtime. You’re frustrated that the driver in front of you won’t let you pass. You’re angry that your doctor’s running behind and is 15 minutes late for your appointment.
Take a moment before you react to notice your feelings. You’re responsible for them — not your child, the driver, or your doctor. Snapping at your kid, cursing at the driver, or grumbling under your breath about your doctor are all responses you could choose. Or, you could opt for practicing patience— a simple mini-meditation of breathing in and breathing out. The goal is to learn to choose your behavior rather than be a victim of it.
It’s much more difficult to cultivate patience if you’re burning the candle at both ends and none of your needs are being attended to. Are you sleeping enough? Eating well? Getting some time for yourself? Without a modicum of self-care patience is going to be hard to come by.
Rushing things or willing them to be different is a waste of your precious energy. You’ve got a limited amount and you might as well spend it on things that are worthwhile. Like the old saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.”