Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. ~Joyce Meyer
Eight and a half years ago at the beginning of my sobriety, I would say I completely lacked gratitude and patience. Nothing ever went fast enough and was totally dissatisfied in my life. One of my solutions to this problem was to get the word patience tattooed on my wrist. I would look down at the tattoo and then keep reminding myself, breathing and begrudgingly tried to practice the action. Slowly but surely, I began to gain patience. My pauses were longer and was able to change my perception of situations. Now I could see when I was not being patient.
I am not saying that the tattoo cured me of my impatience. But constantly being reminded was helpful. Change is possible if we practice perseverance. This week we will be learning how patience has the power to transform our lives if we choose to use it. Here are five ways that patience can make your life more peaceful:
1) Patience helps us to be kinder, which helps our health.
In our instantly gratifying society we have lost our ability to wait and pause with grace. This is due to us constantly using our rewards center when we get what we want. By doing this we are rewiring our brains to think that we need external things to fix us. (When this is a habitual pattern this is how addiction develops.) Interacting in this way has made it difficult for people to learn how to self soothe and have empathy.
By the act of pausing and waiting we learn how to sit with ourselves, our emotions and let our experiences pass through us instead of avoiding them. (Plus when we avoid emotions, we create a pool of unresolved grief. Unresolved grief causes mental health and physical health issues.) Each time we practice pausing, we learn how to soothe ourselves without the need of something external. By being kind and patient with ourselves we then are able to extend this to others. When we have patience we reduce our anger and anxiety which helps with reducing our heart rate and blood pressure.
Try using this acupressure technique to help you reduce irritability and impatience:
Firmly hold the length of your middle finger while you take slow deep breaths. Make an aah sound so that you can release the tension that has built in you. After a minute or two, switch to hold your other middle finger. Repeat this two or three times daily.
Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself. ~Saint Francis de Sales
2) Patience teaches us to be persistent.
Along with teaching us self soothing, patience teaches us how to continue trying. By practicing something that is difficult over an over again we build self worth and skills. When we want to change or learn a new skill we must keep trying if we want to master that skill. By being kind to ourselves when a task is difficult we build ourselves up by continuing to follow through. Change takes place through growth, persistence and willingness. By learning how to master a skill we learn that it is possible for us to withstand difficult things in all the areas of our lives. If one is able to master a physical task that also means that they have the power to overcome emotional tasks as well and vice versa. Try using your accomplishments to give you patience in areas that you struggle with and see how they can transform if you just believe in yourself.
“Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.”
~ Paulo Coelho
3) Patience allows us to let go of control.
Trying to be in control is so much work and stress. So why do we do it all the time? Control gives us a false sense of safety in our lives. When we practice patience we let go of our agendas and accept what is. We learn to let life unfold. When we can pause we allow life to happen instead of what we think should happen. When we manipulate situations, things stay the same. When we have patience we allow things to be revealed to us in the time that they are meant to. Which allows us to be more connected with the world around us because we get to see the plan for us instead of determining what that plan is.
4) Patience makes space for change and growth.
Most of the time when we feel stuck it is due to our lack of acceptance and patience of what is. When we fight against ourselves and make rules of where we are supposed to be, we do not respect where we are in our lives. Sometimes we have to be stuck to begin to have the willingness to change and grow. When we have patience with our situation we open the door to allowing for something to shift.
Remember everything is a process, enjoy the process and see where it leads you. When you practice being patient with your present circumstance you let go of the judging mind, and accept what is. Freedom is found in the space that is the unknown, where anything can happen.
Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures. ~Joseph Addison
5) Patience makes us slow down.
Patience makes us stop and smell the roses. Patience makes us be present in our lives. Life can be an adventure not just a series of tasks for you to accomplish. Even in sickness we can see the beauty of learning to be kind to ourselves and resting our body that works so hard for us everyday. As a way of having unconditional love for the one an only body that you have, treat it with love, respect and kindness. When we slow down we let life happen an enjoy the surprises of what the day will bring. Slowing down is good for the relaxation response and helps us to maintain health and reduce stress. Try taking 5 minutes to yourself today where you just sit and concentrate on your breathing.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you struggle with patience and are more prone to anger? Write about your experience below. Questions? Contact me. Think that this could help someone else? Please share it with others!
Have a beautiful week.