The Art of Patience
November 17, 2022
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “To lose patience is to lose the battle.”
Dictionary.com defines patience as “the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.”
That’s a tall order.
Doesn’t it seem like a tidal wave of frustration, irritability, and impatience is crashing across society?
We live in an age of immediacy, thanks to technology.
In one survey, respondents “reported becoming frustrated after just 16 seconds of waiting for a web page to load, and after 25 seconds of waiting for a traffic light to change.”
Solomon, the wisest person who’s ever lived, shared this gem in Proverbs 16:32, “Better to be patient than a warrior, and better to have self-control than to capture a city.”
It’s safe to say that everyone should strive to be a little more patient today. Frustration, irritation, annoyances, and short-tempers erode our peace of mind and add to the ugliness of society.
What do we accomplish by being short with our kids, getting upset in traffic, having outbursts or tantrums, or getting frustrated over minor things?
Being patient and exerting self-control fosters success and happier relationships and improves our mental and emotional health, overall well-being, and much more.
What is Patience?
“One minute of patience, ten years of peace” – Greek Proverb
Patience is an emotional cushion of space you gift yourself between what’s happening to you and your response.
Patience is controlling your emotions instead of your emotions controlling you so you can deal with obstacles, delays, and challenges productively.
Without patience, you have knee-jerk reactions. But with it, you respond deliberately in a way that supports your life and goals.
Patience protects your honor and integrity.
Patience keeps you from getting bent out of shape because it helps you cope better with things beyond your control.
And patience paves the way for success; a successful person is happier and more fulfilled and experiences less frustration, anxiety, and stress.
Benefits of Patience
Patient people enjoy many benefits:
- Better heart health: Patience reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Better choices: Patience keeps you from rushing into situations, slowing down long enough to make a more thoughtful decision.
- Boosts happiness: Patience reduces irritation, annoyance, and anger, resulting in feeling happier overall.
- Life seems easier: Patience reduces frustration and friction, which reduces stress and overwhelm, making life flow easier.
One of the quickest ways to have more happiness and peace is to be patient.
Steps For Becoming Patient
Consider these helpful tips for adding more patience to your life today:
Monitor your thoughts: We react without thinking when we lack patience. Simply monitoring our thoughts before we react will keep us from saying, doing, or becoming something we will regret or don’t want.
Identify Triggers: What seems to trigger impatience? By learning your triggers, you can avoid those situations or find better ways to cope.
Be grateful. We’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in a week. What better time to remind ourselves to strive to become more grateful every day, for when we do, we will be happier and less impatient. Being a person of patience and gratitude is so much better than being a person of impatience and negativity. We should count our blessings, not our burdens.
Set goals: Setting goals puts you in charge of your life. So, when something happens that could be irritating or be considered a setback, you don’t tend to let it get to you because you have goals and plans for your life; it’s just an inconvenient interruption – not a disaster or the end of the world.
Take Pause: This isn’t easy in an age of instant gratification and same-day deliveries. But even giving yourself 24 hours before making a decision develops patience and strengthens your ability to make more successful decisions. Practice the intention of slowing down.
Developing patience is a skill that takes time but is so worth it. We’d all love to awaken tomorrow with the patience of a saint, but that’s not how it works. However, by practicing the above tips, you will have a little more patience and a lot more peace and happiness, empowering you to unlock your best life.