26 - Patience
It is important to take the necessary time to work through difficult situations and grow your patience. The serenity prayer states, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Make the most of your wait time, and do not complain during delays. There is power in the pause! Use the time to reflect and maybe see reality in a situation. Before understanding how to be patient, consider what it means to be impatient. Do you consider yourself a patient or an impatient person? What does impatience look like to you? Clearly define what it is to be impatient. What are your options in an impatient situation? Take self-controlled action if there are options. However, you must accept this fact and grow your patience if there aren't any. Once impatience is clearly identified, you will then have a deeper appreciation of what patience looks like.
Ways to Practice Patience:
- Compare it to impatience. As mentioned above, clearly identify impatience and use it as a standard in comparison. When you begin to fully recognize impatience as restlessness or an unfulfilled eager or anxious desire, you are able to be mindfully aware of how you conduct yourself when you feel this way. You can then practice self-control and move toward accepting what you cannot change. Or thoughtfully consider what your options are and make changes that align with your values.
- Reflect while waiting. While waiting on an event, answer, or situation, is there something you can do to make better use of your time? Think of ways to be more efficient with your time and avoid time-wasters. Keep pen and paper handy and jot down ideas. Or use the "Notes" app on your phone and update your to-do list. Listen to music or engage your mind in a crossword puzzle for a stimulating distraction. Bring portable work with you and be productive as you wait. Or thoughtfully consider what happened to lead you to this waiting period and reflect on what you could do differently next time. Patience is a skill that can be developed. You must first identify where the issue presents itself for you personally. Explore what productive distractions work best to occupy your time in waiting.
- Control your responses. Think before you respond, especially if you are in an emotional situation. As mentioned in Elevate Your Mind to Success, if you declutter your mind and preprogram it with supportive thoughts that align with your values, you are in a good position for automatic responses to be subtle, controlled, and aligned with your values. Don’t let impatience rob you of your thoughts. Take extra time to relax your mind when you are emotional, and think through your responses. Give yourself this time to collect each thought without acting on impulse. Pray before you respond. Ask for discernment of the situation so you may see the situation clearly and the possible ramifications of responses. Meditate to bring your mind to a state of relaxation and serenity. Focus on positive energy. Elevate your mind to a successful state.
- Taking necessary time. Sometimes, you must practice patience by taking the time necessary to process information or the situation's outcome. Maybe you need to work through possible solutions to an issue, and time is needed to sort through the options to find the best response. Or perhaps there is nothing more you can do; you need to concentrate and put your mental efforts and self-control toward accepting the situation. Change what you can, and accept what you cannot change or influence. Do not rush yourself through this process. If a quick response is needed, admit that you are not yet in the right frame of mind to decide, and seek advice from a trusted, like-minded friend. Place wisdom over pride and make good choices.
- Be compassionate. Be compassionate towards others, as well as yourself. When you emphasize people and their feelings and involvement in situations, you will grow your patience through your love and concern for others and yourself. Take time to consider an occurrence from the perspective of someone else. Observe your sympathetic consciousness of their distress with a desire to help alleviate the situation. Be part of the solution and focus on how to impact them positively.
- Practice being patient. Patience takes practice. Take advantage of everyday opportunities to apply self-control and an atmosphere of calmness. For example, while sitting in heavy traffic or traveling amongst aggressive drivers, remain calm and in control. Do not let their obtrusive energy or even outraged behavior draw you into a battle of breaking road rules. Instead, understand that the intense drivers are the ones who are not in control of their emotions. They have allowed other drivers, perhaps even you, to control them, and their response is erratic. They have lost control. Practice remaining calm and disassociate yourself from unruly drivers. Take some time to think about your actions and their meaning. Do the right thing and make the right choices. Try to look at the situation with positive energy and build your capacity for self-control.
Patience is such an important virtue, involving the ability to endure and work through difficult circumstances. It shows restraint and tolerance and is necessary for a seasoned leader. Take thought-filled time to recognize what situations you can control and cannot. With perseverance, this ability will flourish and prove to be a valuable asset professionally, personally, and spiritually.
“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” David G. Allen
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Joyce Meyer
“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather, it is “timing.” It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” Fulton J. Sheen
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