Haven’t we all heard that patience is good? That it’s a virtue? I’m sure many of us think of ourselves as patient people. But many more of us probably recognize that we have a difficulty staying calm under pressure, waiting, or trusting things will work out. Those descriptors are at the heart of what makes being patient so difficult. There is a subconscious worry that if something doesn’t happen now or soon that something else much worse will happen. Think of being impatient at the traffic light, tapping your fingers, muttering under your breath, thinking that whoever designed your traffic light must be the cruelest person. Well, you are worried that if you don’t make it to your destination in time something bad will happen.
If we desire to have more patience, we will always find the opportunity knocking. Now how do we transition ourselves from fearing something will happen if our desired outcome doesn’t happen soon? There are a few options. One relies on being more present or “mindful” to keep ourselves in the present instead of the future. We can take a deep breath and remind ourselves that all that exists is right now, and what is going on in our current surroundings. Another option is about trying to practice letting go of control. This involves recognizing what we have control over and what we do not and accepting those facts. Sometimes we feel powerless, and we may be irritated as a way of trying to cope with that feeling. Let us give up our powerlessness and release it consciously. These all will take practice, but the more you practice the easier it will be to live out. And lastly, we can trust. Trust that things will be okay even if the thing we’re imaging actually happens. Play out the long game of trust, even until our final days and it will help you put your current reality into the larger perspective. It’s harder to care about being late to appointment when stuck at a red light, when you remember that one day that appointment will not matter and that being impatient will not help. There are many other ways than the ones listed here, so feel free to explore this topic as a springboard for yourself in exploration. If you need help seek help of a trained professional.
Alan Godfrey is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #102925.