by: E.B. Johnson
In this life there are a number of skills and virtues that we cultivate, and patience is one of the most important among them. Happiness doesn’t always happen on our timelines. Life is full of challenges and setbacks which can delay us and throw us off track. Ensuring that we still get where we want to go is dependent on our patience, as well as our focus and commitment to the cause we’ve invested in.
Would you consider yourself a patient person? When things go wrong, or you’re faced with delays — how do you generally react? We can’t throw in the towel every time situations don’t work out the way we planned for them to. It’s crucial that we dig deep, lean on our self-esteem, and activate the resilience that will empower us to conquer and overcome whatever difficulties we’re facing.
Patience is far more than a virtue.
As children, we were taught that patience was a virtue any time our parents needed to silence us for a few minutes. True patience, though, goes much deeper than waiting a couple of days for a toy, or a handful of sweets. Patience is a cornerstone of a happy life, but so many of us get caught up in the toxic rush of instant gratification and warped perceptions of love, life, and reality. Finding peace requires that we find the patience to wait out our needs through the setbacks.
Patience is far more than a childish virtue. It’s one of the means by which we build up our resilience to the mental and emotional challenges of life. When we are patient, we are at peace. We know that the thing we are pursuing is worthwhile and greater than the irritation we experience in not having what we want when we want it.
Stop rushing through life and you’ll stop running into walls that keep you from getting what you want. Find the natural flow of things, then find the peace you need to follow that flow without putting yourself under even more pressure. Life happens at the pace it happens. Sometimes it’s fast. Sometimes it’s slow. Find your place in the scheme of things and embrace it. The more patient you are, the more peace and positivity you can find in life.
Lack of patience can be a serious problem.
Being impatient isn’t a casual problem that can (or should) be ignored. When you’re seriously impatient, it can have big consequences for your life and the relationships that fill it. From an increase in negative feelings, to cloud our overall vision — our impatience will undermine our happiness if we don’t confront it and reshape it.
Increasing negative feeling
Did you know that your impatience can cause an increase in negative feelings and emotions? Bouncing from situation to situation leaves you on the back foot and dealing with a lot of uncertainty. This uncertainty can lead to doubts, fears, and even anxiety that makes it more difficult for you to function and more difficult to connect. As humans, we like to be sure of the choices we make. That happens when we take the time to things through appropriately.
Crumbling emotional state
Patience helps us to reinforce our emotional resilience, but when we lack this patience, it can leave us emotionally vulnerable. Impatience reinforces our negative emotions and that tears us down from the inside out. A crumbling emotional state can often be created as a result of continually faulty decision making, which in turn results from our inability to stop and think things through before we act.
Impatience leads to stress, and that can have dangerous consequences for our physical bodies. When we’re stressed, our body produces a greater number of stress hormones like cortisol — which are hard on our body. We can find ourselves dealing with a number of new aches and pains when we’re stressed. Further more, we can find that we end up battling obesity, high blood pressure, and even compulsive eating as a result of the stress.
Failure to enjoy the present
It’s impossible to enjoy the present when you’re constantly preoccupied with the future, and that’s what a lack of patience does. When you’re constantly itching to move forward, it’s because you’re over-focused on what comes next. Looking to the future is important, but not at the expense of missing out on the present moment. After all, it’s in this present moment that we experience the most growth, the most love, and the most self-realization.
Corrupting close relationships
Has your lack of patience impacted your close relationships? Chances are — it has. Maybe your impatience has led to an inability to communicate honestly and openly with your partner. Aggravated by your inability to get your point across, you might explode or detach. Likewise, you can find that this lack of patience also causes you to sabotage perfectly good relationships that aren’t quite aligning to your unrealistic expectations of life and love.
Making it more complicated
There is no doubt that impatience makes our lives far more complicated. It can lead you into multiple relationships, and it can even lead you into silly mistakes like taking on more than you can balance at work. Because our impatience never leaves time for us to stop and think, we rush into situations and experiences that aren’t necessarily right for us. A lack of patience can make our lives far more complicated to deal with.
Clouding the overall vision
Our impatient urges go a long way in clouding our overall vision in life (and in love). As your impatience drives you away from one opportunity and into the next, you can become confused and awash in a lot of complicated emotions that make it more difficult to understand the reality of what you’re dealing with. We rush, rush, rush, without stopping to honestly process our emotions or even the pros and cons of the action we’re about to take.
How to be more patient in life (and in love).
Are you ready to cut the rush and tap into your deeper sense of patience? You can slow down and nestle into the natural flow of things by understanding where your impatience comes from, and being realistic about where it’s gotten you. Find comfort in the discomfort and tap into your natural empathy. Build up your acceptance and know that what you want will come…you just need to be patient.
1. Understand your impatience
Where does your sense of impatience come from? This is an important place to start in your journey of building up your patience in life, and in love. Just as we learn to put up walls around ourselves, many of us learn to rush through life or to be impatient about receiving the things we want. Often, when we work backwards, we can identify the source of these patterns and rework them in favor of greater patience.
Take some time to really dig into the meat of where your impatience comes from. Did you learn this need to rush from your parents? Does it come from some deep-seated traumas that taught you it was never safe to stay still? Impatience comes from both a conscious and a subconscious place. That’s why discovering all these answers is a process.
Keep a journal of all your realizations. Record your patterns, and record too how those patterns have affected your life and your intimate relationships. Are you bouncing from relationship to relationship? Career to career? Do you feel as though life is never good enough? Or you’re never getting what you need? All of this can stem from an inability to go with the flow in life. Write it down and note the habits that are impacting your future.
2. Be absolutely realistic
Being realistic is an important facet of building a life that is authentically in line with our needs, values, and morals. Defeating our impatience isn’t easy. It’s a process that takes a lot of time and a lot of introspection. Even when we get everything right, we’re still going to get things wrong. That’s okay. Being better isn’t about being perfect. It’s about working hard to be compassionate with yourself and being realistic about getting there.
Be pragmatic. Give yourself something to look forward to and reward yourself for going on this journey. Embrace the mistakes. Know you’ll never be capable of getting everything right — but you can be better. Give yourself a schedule and minimize your ability to “color outside the lines”.
Make it as easy as possible on yourself, but keep moving forward. Know that you’re never going to enjoy the waiting room parts of life, but commit to making the most out of those moments in any way that you can. The gentler you are with yourself, the gentler this entire process will be. Accept the bumps in the road and be kind when we mess up and hit the gas when you should be slowing down. Slow and steady wins that race…even in healing.
3. Find comfort in the discomfort
A lot of our impatience comes from our unwillingness to accept discomfort. To be present is to be uncomfortable sometimes. We have uncomfortable thoughts, uncomfortable feelings. There are all kinds of unpleasant things we’re forced to encounter when we’re being there in the moment. For some, this is too great a discomfort to bear, so they rush through, look for shortcuts, or otherwise avoid their responsibility altogether by bailing.
You need to find a way to be comfortable in discomfort. Rather than running away, let yourself sit in the discomfort and get used to that feeling of the unknown. No matter what you tell yourself, you’re never fully in control of life. There’s too many variables and too many circumstances you can’t predict.
Embrace the change and the challenge. Embrace the ups and the downs and know that rushing through an uncomfortable moment will lead you no closer to peace. Running off without being able to see where you’re going can only lead you into greater trouble and even greater calamity. Slow down and find the peace in allowing life to take its course while you stay focused on the things you need from your future and your relationships.
4. Tap into your deeper empathy
There can be no denying the power of empathy when it comes to healing our impatience. For some of us, our impatience and needs to rush results from childhoods awash with trauma. Trauma survivors regularly fall into toxic patterns of impatience which cause them to push themselves right into upset and burnout. By calling up our empathy, we can be more understanding with ourselves and show ourselves compassion when we feel the need to rush and run away.
Be understanding and try to see the world from more than just your own perspective; understand that everyone around you is leading a life as complex and delicate as your own. They are carrying around the same thoughts, fears, feelings, and worries as you are, you’re just not a part of their narrative to see the transformations happen.
Acknowledge this universal truth and use it to feed your ability to see and feel things as someone else might. Empathy is such a powerful tool, but it requires such great courage and understanding to wield. Once you know where your sensitivity points lie, you’ll be able to see them in others. Stand back and take a look at the world. Instead of struggling against it, listen to it with an empathetic heart.
5. Build up a better sense of acceptance
Does your impatience come from a lack of acceptance? A big part of going with the natural flow of our life is being able to accept the setback, challenges, and even rewards as they come. When we struggle to do this, we get impatient. We refuse to accept things as they lie, so we push ourselves (and our needs) further away and farther down the line. In order to find the peace, we have to build up acceptance.
Look around at your life. Look around at your relationships. You need to accept these things for what they are, and then you need to accept where you’re at both mentally and emotionally within them. It’s important to remember that acceptance isn’t allowance, though. To change the way we need to change, we first have to accept where we’re at.
Work on your sense of acceptance. When you find yourself up against a wall of disappointment, stop and reassess. Where are you at? What are your next options? There’s no timetable on getting your life right. You have all the time you need to figure out how to get your life right. Slow down. Accept the good and the bad, and know that life is the same for each and every one of us. We’re all struggling and doing what we can to stop the pain.
Putting it all together…
Patience is a critical skill to develop, but one that so many of us struggle with. We rush through life and we rush through our relationships, turning away and shooting off into the distance any time we perceive things not to be going okay. We have to find peace in the slow and disappointing moments of life. Then, we can build better action plans that fit our authentic needs.
Understand your impatience and how it impacts your life and your relationships. Then, be honest about who you are and what you need to do to fix it. Not all solutions work for all people. Be pragmatic, then find a way to be more comfortable in the discomfort of waiting. Tap into your deeper empathy and be kind with yourself. You don’t need to rush through life. You don’t always have to be moving in order to avoid yourself or your feelings. Be compassionate. Be understanding of this need and how you want to change it. Then, work on building up a deeply abiding sense of acceptance that allows you to slow down and find the peace in the chaos of it all. Go with the flow and take things one step at a time to build a better tomorrow.