Let’s be honest… we all could use a little strengthening of our patience muscle, agreed?
Here’s the problem with practicing patience. We don’t think we have enough time. Time has become as much of a commodity as gasoline. We can’t get enough of it. we need more of it. we are constantly depleted of it. we are trying to do so much every day that we have no time left for the practice of patience and the opportunity to show others how to do it.
Something I want you to do today:
- Write down one thing that you lack patience with. That you KNOW always annoys you and you ‘lose your cool’ easily with. Possibly being stuck behind slow-walkers or long lines at the grocery store.
- Now when you deal with a scenario that brings that up… how does it make you feel? Frustrated? Out of control? Lack of control? Fuzzy-minded? Weak? Sad? Angry?.
- Now, AFTER the scenario is over… how do you usually feel? Sad? EXHAUSTED? Lost? Happy? Relief?
When we lose our patience, we put out SO much energy we don’t even realize it, until after the scenario plays out and we are left winded and depleted. Which will then roll into the rest of our day. Something as simple as losing our patience when someone isn’t driving fast enough can then roll into your nerves being on such edge that you later snap at our boss. For what? Because YOU were running late to work and someone was driving too slow?
So…. How do we get out of this? how in the world do we strengthen our patience muscle?
It starts with noticing your trigger then… CONSISTENCY.
Go back to what you wrote down on what makes you lack patience.. you know it’s a ‘trigger’ for you. So when you are headed nose deep into the scenario, you need to quickly SEE it coming.. KNOW that you want to practice gaining that patience muscle.. and quickly, as fast as you can, take a deep breath. Right there. just breath. Allow yourself to go into the trigger scenario feeing grounded, centered and with an OPEN HEART.
- Quickly put yourself in the other person’s shoes: maybe your significant other or parent isn’t ‘getting’ what you’re trying to tell them that bothers you, because they had a bad day. Or maybe YOU aren’t being truly open and honest explaining yourself. So when you go into the scenario more centered, your mind will clear up so much more and you’ll be able to deal with the task at hand.
- Remember how much energy you put out and how exhausted you feel after lacking patience. So as you are headed into the scenario… ask yourself: Is this worth putting my energy into? Do I want to feel crappy afterwards? Do I want to be exhausted? Do I want to have this go into the rest of my day?
Look at it as a challenge. Look at the way you interact with others as a sign if your’e on the right track. Are you calm with your children? Or boss? Or peers? Other drivers on the road?
My three resources to keep me on the compassion-strenght-builidng train:
- Surrender: the only way you can practice patience is when you are willing to surrender to your circumstances. Let GO of your ego, of the wants and desire of your mind. Let go of your emotions. Know that yu can choose how you react and how you want the outcome to be.
- Creativity: The way you act upon a situation (or sometimes even better if you DON’T act) will require creativity, thinking outside the box.
- Try different approaches and look at things from a different perspective. It’s not about how the circumstance is arranged, but how you arrange it in your mind. Benefit from your imagination and use it to make the most of the situation.
- Compassion: like I said above.. it is so essential to be compassionate towards the people who are challenging your patience. Put yourself in their position and try to be understanding. Be the one who is calm and rises above the situation. Be the one who observes without judging and spreads love. Even when it’s so hard and you WANT to be right… remember how much energy that takes and allow the situation to play out as calmly as possible.
Unless you want to feel crappy and tired after putting out unnecessary energy.
Personally, I like to put myself in situations where I force myself to practice patience. Just llike you would to grow your bicep muscle, you have to forcefully activate it. well I try to do that with my patience muscle every day.
- I enjoy standing in line at the grocery store, and when I notice people who have few groceries, I let them go first and give them a friendly smile.
- When I’m standing in a long line, and observe people arouond me who are agitated because things aren’t going as fast as they want them to be, I choose to be free of that. I choose to enjoy the moment for what it is. I use it as ‘me time’. I dial into how I’m feeling, how I want to feel, look around and take in all the sights, sounds and smells. Because why waste my energy and heart on something out of mhy control? What will huffing and puffing on the line going so slow do for myself or others? And the majority of the time, when I am calm and smile at the people around me, they tend to calm down a bit. We are all in this together people. Let’s just chill.
- I will even go out of my way to chit chat with the person who is standing next to me in line, distract ourselves together. Hey, you might make a new friend that way or learn a thing or two. I enjoy spreading kindness and see how it affects people. You never know how much that act will take into the rest of the day and next time they’re frustrated or lacking patience in a long line they’ll remember the calmness I brought them..
If you’re able to surrender, use your creativity and be compassionate, the universe will lay out the path for yu to experience the freedom of patience. Guaranteed.