Patience is one of the greatest virtues a person can have. Being patient with friends and relatives brings healthier relationships, being patient with ourselves brings greater happiness. Patience gives us the resilience to achieve our goals, which are not always within easy reach.
Developing patience itself requires patience. The process is like working out at the gym. On your first trip to the gym you wont expect to lift the heaviest weights, and neither should you expect to become super patient over night. Patience should be built up over time in incremental steps.
Let’s take an example. You’re waiting to hear back about a job interview. You find yourself checking your emails five times per hour to see if they’ve got back to you yet. Your first goal is to recognize that you are being impatient. Next, slowly reduce the number of times you check your inbox. Start with twice per hour, then once, then twice per day, then once and so on.
To learn how to be patient, it’s important to recognize that impatience is a form of anxiety. We feel impatient because we are anxious about something in our life. In the example above the anxiety is directly related to the impatience – we’re anxious about not having a job and we’re impatient about finding gout if we’ve got one.
But often its a general background anxiety or ‘existential angst’. We tend to fill up our schedule in an effort to run away from this feeling, and when we find ourselves waiting for something we are forced to face the anxiety, which gives rise to impatience.
The solution is the same as dealing with any anxiety – face it a little bit at a time. Spend a few minutes doing nothing today, and increase the time tomorrow and the next day. When you feel the anxiety of impatience arise within you stay with the physical feelings in your body for a few minutes. Over time the feelings will fade. In time you’re ‘to do list’ will become a ‘might do today or tomorrow’ list, you’ll relax into life more, you’ll enjoy the beauty of what you have and become less jealous. You’ll become more patient, and happiness and fulfillment will be your reward
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A book I wrote…
Jack Kerouac"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."