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.