You call your cable company to address a billing mistake and despite speaking with a friendly and helpful customer service representative, you are put on hold. Five minutes pass, then 10, then 15, etc. You find yourself in a huff, bothered by having to wait on hold to get the situation resolved. Some people are better at this than others. And by better, we mean incredibly skilled, talented, and at peace with it. What are we referring to? Patience.
Ahhh… there is that word again. How many times have you been told or heard someone else say “just be patient.” With certain things, patience comes a lot easier. With other things, having to wait and allow time to pass or your turn to present can feel like eternity (which also means you are not relaxed, calm, or stress-free about it).
What is Patience?
The word patience means to tolerate waiting, delay, or frustration without becoming agitated or upset. It is being able to control your emotions or impulses and proceed calmly when faced with difficult or frustrating situations. Patience is increasingly harder in our world full of instant gratification, but nonetheless, it is important life skill to develop, refine, and posses.
Most of the time we get impatient about things where we lack control. “Things” related to time, others, natural processes, and policies tend to be the most frequent sources of impatience.
Situations that require patience
✔ Reaching most goals
✔ Losing weight
✔ Having a baby
✔ Becoming a professional career person such as
doctor, lawyer, engineer
✔ Becoming a top athlete
✔ The healing of any wounds or illnesses
✔ Getting over loss or tragedy
How to Improve Patience
One key aspect to patience is redirecting your attention to other things. If you are solely focused on the thing you are awaiting to happen, the wait is going to feel that much more extended and perhaps, unbearable. Know that the reality is that it is bearable because just as you have gotten through past periods of stress or eagerness waiting for something to happen, you can this time, as well.
Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness allows you to stay focused in the present moment, which means you are less likely to be thinking way ahead and getting agitated by things that haven’t yet happened or that you must wait for. Intentionally slow down by pausing and taking a deep breath. If you are the type of person who needs to get things done yesterday, seriously consider what really needs to get done and what can wait. Likewise, if you find yourself getting frustrated, pause and intentionally decide to not get worked up.
Feeling impatient (which means feeling anxious, stressed, frustrated, or agitated) will NOT make time move more quickly. It will just make the journey more unpleasant.
In our current world, we can also work to reduce impatience by lowering our overall need to obtain instant gratification. Rather than just adding the item to your shopping cart and clicking “complete,” perhaps stop and delay the purchase until tomorrow. Do the same thing with sending text messages, thinking before you speak, ordering another drink, or eating something you don’t really want.
And the irony with patience is that once that event, experience, or turn finally happens, your hindsight really becomes that much clearer. You may make statements such as “well, the wait wasn’t that bad” or something to that effect.
Being Patient with Developing Patience
It is ironic, but it takes time to develop and enhance patience. In this sense, developing patience requires patience with one’s self. And by no means is it a passive process, but rather it takes intentionality and challenging yourself to become more self-disciplined with patience. However, it is a valuable process as developing patience will prove to be useful in your career, relationships, personal happiness, success, and quality of life.
WE CAN HELP
If you are struggling with feeling impatient, we can help. Whatever the reason, give us a call or send us an email. Remember, there are many reasons why people seek therapy. Professional mental health assistance can greatly benefit you in many ways, including making important changes in your life.
We are committed to providing therapy and counseling services in a comfortable, relaxing, encouraging, and non-judgmental environment to yield the most realistic and best outcomes. Give us a call or email us today to schedule an appointment.