The older I get, the easier it is for me to become engulfed in annoyances. I guess it's true what they say, you do get set in your ways as you get older. And the more change and/or challenges that come along, it's easier just to walk a way or avoid it at all costs.
I've also noted in my growth that often we don't realize how anxiety, anger, frustration, confusion, etc. manifest in our lives. Nor do we realize what it looks like when it inhabits our body. For clarity, all of these are factors of impatience. And I discovered that succumbing to anxiety, anger, frustration, confusion, etc. disrupts peace.
I find that my peace, these days, rests in the predictability of my home life.
As a single woman, I come home, cook dinner, relax, listen to music, have a glass of wine and escape from the world. I typically disconnect from my phone, except for a few delayed responses to text messages. Then, when I have finished working on two other jobs of passion, I take a shower (or bath depending on how I feel), read for a bit and head to bed.
As boring as it may seem to some, or even if it appears lonely to many, my peace rests in these nights. My peace rests in this cycle.
When I am challenged or someone comes along that disrupts this cycle, my patience becomes very short, if not non-existent. I've had to learn that no matter who or what circumstances emerge I am the controller of my response. And I have to choose to respond with care and be patient with others.
That patience, in turn (I've learned) allows me to maintain control over my own peace. But I am human and do from time to time battle with holding on to my ability to be patient.
SO HOW DO I DO IT?
Well allow me to share some things I like to remember when battling with being patient.
I. ELIMINATE AVOIDANCE The first thing I learned to do is confront my annoyances, discomfort, etc. I came to understand that when I avoid things, people, situations, etc. I would never learn how to address (tolerate) them.
I had to learn not to be dismissive, and try to get an understanding first of why the situation continues to occur, and be willing to understand that although the annoyance may be the same, the circumstances could vary.
In other words, for me the problem remained the same but the delivery of that problem (or how I encountered it) varied.
And when the only factor you can control is yourself, you learn to change your behavior/response or find better ways to respond that don't negatively impact your peace. And that's all a part of confronting your annoyances.
Plus, no one has ever learned how to be patience without confronting and overcoming the things that challenge them...
II. LISTEN WITH THE INTENT TO LISTEN
Many of us are not genetically predisposed to listen, it's a behavior many of us are taught. So it's only right to understand that we would have no reason to listen to someone else with a genuine intent to listen.
Granted my profession has given me the tools to listen actively, I know from experience that I was once so self consumed during conversations that I failed to listen to the other party.
Listening is probably one of the most patience reinforcing behaviors I have ever learned. Because you literally have to give your undivided attention to someone else for a period of time. And listening is an unselfish task that many of us fail to participate in.
Imagine trying to learn to listen with Attention Deficit Disorder. For me this was such a challenge. But once I figured out how, I realized how much more you learn listening, than you could ever learn talking.
So how do you listen with the intent to listen?
Individual characteristics and traits impact one's ability to listen actively, thus active listening looks different on everyone.
The point here is to illustrate the benefit of listening and share why it is not appropriate to listen to respond. This way you take a personal interest in learning how to listen actively, so that you learn how to do this on your own in a way best for you.
But essentially what helped me is to remember to remain open to the conversation, try not to make assumptions (apologize when I do), and respond with care.
Which takes us to number three...
III. CHOOSE TO RESPOND WITH CARE
It's hard dealing with people and things that don't make us happy or frustrate us so, but consider first why the individual or situation (circumstance) would require patience. And then make a CHOICE to respond with care.
And here's why...
KARMA IS REAL!
"Do unto other's as you'd have them do unto you!"
If you love your spouse you should, at the very least, respond out of love and consideration, regardless to the outcome because your love for that individual should allow for you to be careful of how you make them feel. Especially since you'd want them to be patient with you, so rightfully so you should treat them as you'd want to be treated.
And I know someone is challenging that thought with, "If my spouse knows me, they should know not to do things that frustrate me!"
NEWSFLASH: Please stop forgetting that you don't have control over people.
Our first response, 90% of the time as humans, is to be very selfish, responding and handling situations that are only considerate of our wants and needs, not someone else. If this wasn't the case there would be no need for me to write this post.
We'd all be patience and considerate without hesitation.
But in order to encourage the change you seek, you have learn to be patient.
No one makes accommodations for inconsiderate people...
Secondly, how we choose to respond and treat someone is a direct reflection of our character. Be sure to read that one again. Because some of you will have a hard time accepting that you treat people well below any standard you set for yourself.
And no one should feel good about making other's feel terrible. That says more about you, than the person "allowing" you to do it.
But even with understanding this, we forget that our actions (in this regard) have consequences. So we develop amnesia and forget to associate our present misfortune with maltreatment of others.
And just in case you are someone who is often impatient with children, remember that children don't have the capacity to rationalize their behavior, thus patience with them should be granted just on principle alone because they don't have the tools to understand the error in their ways. Especially living in a society where we make assumptions that people should just "know things" without ever considering that they may have never been taught them.
Now if you find that you're often impatient at work, again think about the reason patience would be beneficial, and weight the pros versus the cons. Because losing your job is certainly a negative outcome, when in hindsight all it took is for you to respond with care...
IV. RELEASE CONTROL OVER THE OUTCOME
It's unfortunate that for many of us control is the only thing that makes us feel safe. But when trying to be patient you have to learn that you can not control everyone and everything.
Understanding this helps with releasing the anxiety that comes with uncertainty. And where there is no anxiety there is minimal frustration.You can exist in a space of calm and peace knowing that what is meant to be, will ultimately be.
I had this epiphany when realizing that it takes way more energy to be controlling, angry, sad, etc. than it ever did being happy, calm or at peace. And I made a decision, in that moment, to no longer relinquish energy to anger or frustration about things I can't control.
I learned that being patience isn't a process with strict guidelines and know-how. Being patient is about controlling yourself to the point where you understand the necessity of being accommodating and considerate of others.
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