Patience has never been a virtue of mine. As I wrote in my post about setting goals, I’m known for the famous 101 Unfinished Projects and besides setting my goals wrong (a little too far out of reach), my impatience is stopping me (to reach any goal that is out of immediate grasp). Lately, I have noticed that this impatience comes together with a tendency to lose my temper with people.
I decided it was time to do a quick Google search on the topic and a few results shocked me.
- People who suffer from severe impatience are often considered to be arrogant, insensitive, and overbearing.
- Excessive anger arises from the following character weaknesses: selfishness; the need to control; pride; impatience
Oh, dear… is that me…?
- Many factors can lead a person down the road to impatience. One of the biggest causes is stress.
One strong voice is that of my mum. She visited and stayed with us for a couple of weeks last month. On the day before she left, she asked me jokingly whether I was relieved to see her go. My honest answer was that I was happy to have her with me, and that we had lots of fun, but that after more than three weeks it is kind of nice to go back to normal life, which means being able to let go a bit and lower the standards back to my own. Her reply was “You mean even lower than this?”
How long is your fuse?
I actually find that it is as long as you want to. Being patience is a decision. When something is about to trigger my loss of patience, there is always this split second in which I think, “shall I breathe deeply and grit my teeth, or shall I just throw out all my frustration here?” The latter option seems most easy and satisfactory. Especially when you can blame someone else for your misery. But I find it is perfectly possible to choose the first option. After all, I never threw my oldest daughter from the balcony when she was a baby and screamed for hours on end. Then why do I often choose to explode over minor things?
I searched for advice to become more patient. I have read about counting to ten, breathing in deeply, write down the triggers, take a time out, etc. But there were three tips that seemed most useful to me and are things to work on.
- There is no such thing as magic. If you think that things will happen immediately, or people can do things in an instant, or changes are made overnight, you’ll get disappointed and impatient every time. Good things take time.
- Relieve frustration and stress in a healthy way, like running a mile, or some other form of exercise. Or try yoga or meditation.
- Love and laugh. Instead of losing your temper with relatives and friends, realize how much these people mean to you and love them, laugh with them. They are more important than the thing you ask them to do, or not to do.