Having patience in the face of all unexpected and unwanted outcomes is Sabr…
As we commence our individual life journeys into 2021 I am acutely aware of how the world is still grappling with the global pandemic. There are many local lock-downs still taking place across different countries and we are having to endure further difficulties that have tested us consistently throughout the past year. Difficulty in relationships, in the loss of jobs and financial security. Struggles with mental health and loneliness, the feelings of pressure, dread and the uncertainty that this virus has placed on society has created much anxiety on us all as a human race.
So how do we continue in such a climate? What can we do to keep up our spirits and manage the challenges of daily life under lock down restrictions? The only way is through learning the art of patience. We have no control over what is happening outside of us but we can learn and develop ourselves in relation to accepting the current reality. This will take a whole heap of patience.
The Arabic word ‘sabr’ (patience) comes from the root meaning to refrain and stop, in a spiritual sense patience is about stopping ourselves from complaining, or panicking, or despairing in times of grief. I believe we have been living through grief since the start of this pandemic and have yet to see the end of it. So many people have lost so much and our way of life has changed drastically to accommodate these unforeseen troubles. We are all still adapting and adjusting to this virtual way of living and connecting in business and personal relationships.
Harnessing the essence of patience can allow us to calm the body and soothe the spirit. To practice this we must allow ourselves to be open and accepting of the reality that we currently live in. To be mindful of the daily changes we make in order to cope and find new ways of making life more bearable.
To help understand the concept of patience the list below is a good starting point.
- The ability to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
- Having forbearance
- Being understanding
- Having compassion
- Being mindful
- Having hope
- Practicing self-restraint
- Persevering and being consistent in our attitude
What patience is not:
- Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude whilst waiting.
- Not being impulsive
- Not complaining
- Not being judgemental
- Not being pessimistic or despairing
- Not allowing anxious thoughts to become overwhelming or over powering
Patience with Others
The quote above lists three types of patience. When we strive to have patience with others, we are enhancing our personal and professional relationships. We offer empathy and love instead of being resentful or judgmental. Building patience with others is a skill that can be practiced, it takes time and conscious effort but is very rewarding for the self and others.
Patience towards others can be achieved by showing compassion, we all have back stories and nobody knows what another soul is grappling with. So be kind and understanding of people despite how they present. Often what others say and do is more about them than it is about anyone else. Try not to take it personally when others who are having a hard time lash out or withdraw. That is their way of processing pain, give them space, time and support in whatever way you can.
If you are aware of their issues try putting yourself in their shoes, or imagine what they might be going through. We are all products of our environment and our past experiences have shaped us into who we are today. Maybe their past has been troubled or traumatic, this will impact on their actions now. In summary try not to judge but view others with understanding and use kindness. Park your own thoughts and values about how the world ‘should be’ and work with the reality of what is by practicing love and acceptance of yourself and others. When you are patient with others, this will be reflected back on to you by the universe because what goes around comes around.
Patience with Self
Having patience with yourself is one of the most rewarding and soothing things you can do for your souls peace. Allow events to occur naturally and try not to over think, force or rush any issues. Remember the golden rule- you can only control yourself not others or things outside of you like current pandemic. You cannot expect change to happen overnight for yourself, the environment or in others. Understand that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason is not clear immediately.
To achieve this level of patience its important to filter ‘what is’ (reality) from the ‘what if’s (imagination- ruminating) We need to be objective and see things for what they actually are instead of trying to force matters to be what we want them. Or to resist reality, this only results in anxiety and non acceptance. Sometimes we just have to work with what we have and make the best of a bad situation. Have faith and trust that everything will happen in its due time. That includes the mass vaccination program to bring us out of this pandemic, it will take time.
Instead of focusing on what we have not got use this time to reflect on what we have got, be insightful and work on developing good habits. Learn lessons from what is happening around us and appreciate how we have adapted and changed to cope. That is a blessing in itself. As a race we have managed to adjust and learned new ways of working and communicating, to stay connected. We need to keep going and not give up or feel hopeless when things don’t work out as we planned. All it means is we find an alternative route to achieving our goals.
At the end of the day, we can only do our best and that has to be enough. Beyond that we can practice patience, and accept that we are still evolving and changing. So lets begin by striving to become the best possible versions of ourselves. Be kind, compassionate, loving and forgiving to yourself first and foremost and then to others. Look at how far you have come, the lessons you have learned and the accomplishments you have achieved despite your past trauma’s. Take a moment and let yourself feel the warmth of this progress and give yourself the validation and acknowledgement of the hard work and effort you have put in to life so far.
Patience with God or the Universe (or whatever you believe in)
Nobody knows the divine plan of God or why things happen. They occur ahead of our knowledge and take place despite our own plans. The old saying goes that ‘every action has a reaction’ so how are we reacting to the universe and others? Are we helping each other or turning on each other? How can we be of service to one another? Consider the answers to these questions, maybe journal on them. See what comes up for you. We all have the capacity to do great good and that is the key to maintaining positive mental health and well being. To be helpful to others and persevere with patience and love.
The best way to achieve patience with God is to trust in Him and have faith that there is a way through times like this. As a Muslim I have firm faith in Allah’s statement in the holy Quran “Verily, with every hardship comes ease. (Quran 94:5) If you do not believe in a God concept then you can trust and have faith in the universe knowing that moments change, people change and circumstances change. Nothing stays the same. Just as other disasters have passed so too shall this pandemic we are living in right now pass.
It will be talked about for years to come and make it in to the history books. What will you say to the future generations about how you coped during this time? To harness the power of patience in relation to the universe the key is to be patient with yourself, be patient with the Universe, and be patient with others. Focus on what you want to achieve and keep moving forward with that in mind. After all you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. Let the future unravel as its meant to and forgive your past self for making mistakes. Live life with a hopeful, helpful and loving spirit and never give up hope for a better tomorrow.