With New Year’s day just behind us, change seems to be the word of the day. I think change is possible. And for me that change is about developing patience. I want to be more patient.
IS PATIENCE A WORTHY GOAL?
But, what exactly is patience? According to dictionaryreference.com, patience comes from the Latin word patientia which means endurance, submission; quality of suffering. A modern definition for patience refers to an ability to suppress restlessness or annoyance. To sum it up in blunt terms – having patience means dealing with crap in a reasonable way without succumbing to pissedoffness (I made that word up – feel free to quote me but I do want credit).
That certainly sounds like a goal worth striving for. But what about letting things out and not bottling up your emotions? Maybe, losing your patience is actually a better way to handle things. Doesn’t our society appreciate hard charging? How many type A personalities, who are equated with success, bother with patience? Don’t they damn the torpedoes and go after what they want? With this in mind, why bother with patience Maybe I should find another personality trait that needs work.
Well, according to a Psychology Today article by Dr. Jane Bolton having patience is certainly worth it. She says the purpose of building patience leads to “happiness, better relationships, and more success.” However being patient, Dr. Bolton, says requires effort.
Of course besides clearly stating patience is beneficial, this also implies that someone one can become more patient. In fact, Dr. Bolton says, “We can all work to develop more patience. An important idea here is that developing patience is just that. Developing a skill. We aren’t born with it.”
HOW CAN ONE DEVELOP PATIENCE?
So, how do to develop this skill? Well, Googling – how can one develop patience led to 85,100,000 results in 0.63 seconds. After skimming through four results (not bad for a person who is impatient), it seems much of the talk is about slowing down, delaying gratification, understanding what causes you to lose patience, and seeing the big picture.
All of these suggestions sound good and reasonable. But what about practical exercises? Should I stare at an hour glass? Spend an entire evening with my children when there are no electronics involved? Engage in a group Facebook conversation? Breathe in and breathe out till a Philadelphia sports team wins a playoff series?
WHY I WANT TO BE MORE PATIENT
I recently read a blog post at An Epic Education. My fellow dad blogger, Jason, wrote a post about how he and his wife are using travel to try and teach their children patience. Jason wrote, “We don’t have a real technique or strategy to teach patience. We mostly just practice it by putting ourselves in situations where patience is required.” They also limit their children’s smart device usage encourage reading, and play games. This sounds like my family on the Sabbath. When the boys are playing together or at least not getting in each other’s way, it is the most peaceful day of the week.
Like Jason, I want my children to be patient. One way to encourage that is to be a better role model. What is causing me to lose my patience most these days is work. As I continue my foray into the new world of self- employment, I find myself anxious. Why hasn’t this editor contacted me? Will this publisher be interested in this story? What is the pay for this publication? Is this an opportunity worth pursuing? The questions are endless. My head is spinning like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist. When this happens, patience is the farthest thing from my mind. Everything needs to happen now!!!
Uhh, not the best way to get things done. I need to slow down. I need to recognize things don’t happen simply because I want them too. I need to handle things in a more methodical though out way.
I’ve gotten better at this. I make schedules. I take breaks. I remind myself the world doesn’t revolve around me. Yet I have a lot of room to grow.
One of the four sites I Googled – Essential Life Skills – notes four benefits to developing patience.
- Reduces stress levels and makes you a happier, healthier person.
- Results in better decision-making.
- Helps develop understanding, empathy and compassion.
- Helps you understand and appreciate the process of growth.
Even one of these benefits would make it worthwhile, let alone all four.
So, this year I’m going to try and work on developing patience. I’m going to really try. I think I can be more patient, accomplish what I want, and be a better person. These are definitely changes worth striving for.
Wish me luck!!
P.S. Suggestions are welcome.
What a great character trait to develop. I wish you the best.
Thanks I’ll need it!
Sometimes I think of patience as being similar to sitting in very hot or very cold water. When you initially get in it is tough to stay there but eventually you begin to adjust and your ability to sit in the water grows.
At least that is the theory.
I think patience is tied into the level of risk associated with whatever you are trying to be patient about as well as your knowledge regarding that particular situation.
I like the theory!
Your thought on patience makes complete sense.
While I am a generally patient and calm person I definitely find that work stress or lack of sleep makes me much less patient, so does my six year old. I am learning to recognize when I am being less patient and developing strategies like walking away from a situation for a few minutes when I feel the temperature rising.
With my six year old specifically I am working on instituting a process with her where I talk to her about how I want to help her get what she wants, but she needs to take a minute of quiet to think about what she wants while I take a minute to do some deep breaths so that I can be more rational and in control when sorting through tantrums and the like. So far those strategies to step back and refocus myself are working well.
Best wishes in your quest!
The fact that you can walk away is great. I’m glad your strategies are helping you and your daughter. Awesome!
Thanks for the good wishes.
Ugh!!! This is a constant struggle for me! I can’t justify it. Why can’t I just slow down and enjoy the moment? Who care if it takes 5-10 minutes longer? Then I see one of my girls act exactly the way I do and I know I had better try harder!
I don’t know why but I know I fall into that trap too often.
Being a role model is definitely part of my motivation.
I’m not patient, and I’ve stopped trying to develop that skill. I’m one of those Type A’s you mention, I just want to get it done and done now.
But, I am learning how to deal with it when things don’t happen as fast as I want them too, how to stand politely in line without tapping my foot and how to find something else to focus on, either by being productive or engaging in my surroundings, so that when things aren’t happening on my time table that it doesn’t give me a bad attitude!
I’m not more patient, not in the least, but I am working on not letting it run my day! So, I wish you luck!
Well, alright then.
The problem I have is I’m still learning that too. Often, I feel like it’s a lesson that I will never get.
Patience is something I’m always trying to hone. Some days are better than others, and I seem to get better at it as I get older. Writing particularly requires patience, doesn’t it? No instant gratification there. Send off a query, wait for a long time to hear back, go back to work on a book that won’t see publication for months or years. Yes, patience. it’s a good thing to hone when one’s a writer…
I agree with you 100%.
I can also say some days are better than others. I’m not really sure why that is though.
I have no suggestions because I have the same problem! Let us know how it works out for you– this could be a blog series.
If there’s a progress, I will let you know!
OMG, that top picture is so priceless and spot on. That’s totally me to a tee, especially now that homeschooling has picked up. I’ve noticed my impatience quite a bit lately, in other realms, too. It’s definitely something I need to work on. Thanks for the reminder.
You’re welcome. I have to remind myself every day!
Glad you liked the pic.
A parent with patience? Never seen one.
Thanks for the laugh.
Definitely a great goal to have. Best of luck!
Thanks. I’ll need it.
Uhm… I really like that post – probably because I’m one of the most impatient people on earth. LOL
So, how do we become more patient?
Great post, Larry. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time, and definitely see the value of instilling in kids.
One of the best pieces of work advice I ever received is that nothing is as important as what is in front of you at the moment. Easy in theory, more complicated to implement.
I think you’ve received wise advice. I also agree that is not always to follow through on it. I keep in mind when I pray that I should be able to focus on the task at hand. Not only does it make for more patience but greater productivity and meaning from each moment.