Patience takes patience



Waiting is a trial of patience. Especially when waiting feels new, unplanned and unexpected. But there is value in improving patience. In addition to helping to cope with having to stay home during a pandemic, growing patience can benefit all areas of life. 

Like many people in the world, I am no stranger to expecting instant gratification in my consumptions, my relationships, my career, my goals, etc. Expectations have the potential to be powerful and dangerous when patience is lacking. This is why so much time and money have been put into advertising promising instant results in various products. Advertisers lean into the notion that we do want fast results. But while alluring, more often than not, fast falls short. 

Patience asks for a lot. It asks us to wait. It asks us to change our expectations. It asks us to put our dreams, wants and even needs on hold. When we have to live by the rules of patience instead of our own, our frustration can leak out into other areas of our lives. When we resist patience it can exasperate the situation and unravel and twist into a knotted messy web of an increased yearning for things to happen sooner. To release the hold of yearning, you must release the need to control. When you remove the grip of control, control removes the grip on you.

Improving patience is no small task. While practice can evolve over a lifetime, there are some things you can start with (below) that may feed your instant gratification need, which is what you (and our culture) have been conditioned to expect.  But you have the power of free will. Anything learned can be unlearned or relearned in a new way, including how to become more patient in life. 

The long game

Understand that patience helps the most with the long game. It's like how compound interest works (interest on interest leading to growth). When you invest your time in practicing patience today, in all areas of your life, it will become easier and expansive as time goes on.

Examination

To grow your patience, you have to do a little self-reflection about where you lack patience. Start with what triggers you or makes you tremendously angry in a short time period when it's brought into your day. Think about when you lack empathy for others when they appear as obstacles in your path. What themes come to mind when you hold tension in your body?

You must get clear on what you want to improve before you can improve them. Journaling about this can help keep you on track; you can use this as a reference log to keep things top of mind. This is especially good since humans are creatures of habit. If you're trying to