Patience can really assist one in maintaining perspective and working toward goals.
Developing our own patience and that of our children is challenging. Practice makes perfect usually requires the patience to push through the mistakes of practice to get to perfect. This teaches resilience and inner strength and the capacity to delay gratification – but patience is still hard for everyone.
You can see this in sports. Where an individual’s inability to keep his cool results in the person’s inability to remain focused on the goal. They can get too affected by a mistake. It’s as if they get caught in a downward spiral that takes them away from the goal because they are not acting from their center.
Patience requires a sense of centeredness and it keeps you centered.
In some ways, the culture of our world makes it more difficult – there’s a push to have it now, especially in the advertisement world. And there is a lot of hurry up and wait; these actions tend to erode rather than develop patience.
Delaying gratification – having to work for something – is good; it turns out that resilience develops out of the process of not winning, and living through that, to then win. To get there requires patience, perseverance, and inner strength.
The thing with patience is that it’s always relative. No matter how patient a person is, life can push you just a little too far and then there you are losing your patience or temper.
A number of things help to increase or maintain patience. Looking at it from a Spirit, Mind, and Body relationship:
Daily Yoga or meditation, prayer – spirit.
Thinking things through before acting, keeping the big picture in mind (figure and ground) – mind.
Exercise, and sleep and eating right – body.
Breathing, Staying centered and focused – spirit, mind and body.
If you are out of sync in any of these areas it’s really difficult to center – and a lack of centeredness often results in a lack of patience.
When faced with a situation which is trying your patience, first, Stop, Look, and Listen.
As soon as you notice that you’re being challenged to be patient – try to focus on what is actually happening, what may be going on for you – are you tired, frustrated or stressed; what may be going on for the other person – is she tired or stressed in some way.
Notice what is going on then pay attention to the sound of your voice or that of the other person is it angry or whinny. Each are indicative of someone who is dealing with a conflict that they may be bringing to the situation.
Then while you’re doing all of that (in split second time), also allow yourself to breathe – consciously try to focus in on your own breath. Breathing connects spirit, mind and body by getting you into the now and centering you. It allows you to experience these levels of being at once. Breathe deeply, remembering to breath in for a shorter period of time than breathing out.
From that space, see if you can get even more perspective on the situation – ask yourself in the scheme of things how important is this? If you are focusing from the now, and not the past, future, or to get another’s approval, you can evaluate whether losing your patience is an appropriate action.
Increasing your mindfulness and your centeredness allows you to take an action that is informed by the actual situation and this typically results in increased patience.
Notice this over the next few days and see if you have a better handle on remaining patient.
See you tomorrow.