Many things in our lives do not happen as fast we would prefer. We set goals that we think should have been accomplished by now, we have relationships that are somehow stagnate or haven’t advanced, our kids are either growing too fast or stuck in a cycle that seems never-ending, and of course our jobs and careers are always in question. We want a promotion, a new job, or wish to start our own business.
Regardless of the issue, using patience effectively is very important.
We have to get beyond typical patience, where we just passively wait for things to work out our way. Yes, we must practice active patience, where we are making intentional decisions and taking action to move forward, all while being patient. Patience is a learned skill, and is accessible by everyone.
When we ignore the significance of patience, we create frustration where we should have peace.
We are all guilty of it: we believe that we have more power than we do. If we only maneuver this way, or go in the other direction, or even quit altogether, then things will somehow go our way, RIGHT NOW. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, we have to participant in the dance of patience, in the activity of being engaged with our lives, while accepting that things will often not happen at our pace.
SO, HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE ARE BEING PATIENT?
Patience is both active and passive. While we are waiting for things to blossom in our lives, we can still make the choice to stay active and continue making positive decisions that help to move us toward our desired goal. For example, if your goal is to build a healthier relationship with your significant other, you have to start with some small steps while staying focused on the main goal: a healthier relationship. There are both active and passive methods of patience at work in this case.
Active patience may be starting with improving on your communication, spending more time together, and actively listening to their needs. You are taking action on your goals for the relationship. Passive patience is more observant and involves stepping back, as the overall goal may become visible as your relationship strengthens and grows. You have actively done the things that you can, and now you patiently wait to see changes and improvements.
However, when we just jump in and mistakenly think that one conversation or action will fix an unhealthy relationship, or any issue in our lives, we set ourselves up for frustration and even failure. At this point, we are neither using active or passive patience, or establishing realistic goals.
In today’s world, so many things are quickly accessible. We can do everything with our smartphones, tablets, and laptops. We can order food online and have it delivered to our doorstep. Dating and meeting others is also possible through the power of technology. Our cars now have so many bells and whistles, the only remaining feature is creating a vehicle that floats in the air. Point is: life has become instantaneous and accessible. There is almost nothing outside of immediate reach.
This social state combined with entitled thinking has left many of us with little patience for anything or anyone, including ourselves. We place enormous pressure on ourselves to be perfect and have everything we see everyone else possesses. The hard work associated with living life has become convoluted with happiness and effort. The result is the loss of work ethic, patience, rewards, positive thinking, and accepting disappointments along the way.
So, let’s get back to the way life really is. We make a goal and then we have to continue living while we pursue it. We start a relationship and have to experience the ups and downs, while working to maintain and improve on it. We parent our children through the good times and the difficult, and have to consistently love them when they find it hard to love themselves. And, through all of this (and more), we have to practice being and thinking positively, even when things do not go as desired.
Patience is often overlooked as necessary, as if our circumstances must align in a perfect circle before we can commit to being patient people.
We are often stuck in a rut, thinking that patience is some kind of skill that only “those” people have. We blame others and our circumstances for our lack of patience. We continue to act as if everything must be perfect in our lives before we can take a deep breath and just enjoy our day. Instead of maturing in our patience and acceptance of the trials of life, we become stagnate and disillusioned as we live our lives.
Patience is not given to “special people.” The people we see who demonstrate enormous amounts of patience may have a different emotional make-up than us, yes, but even more significant is that they have practiced the art of actively and passively being patient.
Patience can be a great tool for us, one to help us navigate our complex lives. It is a given that we will face unexpected circumstances on a regular basis, so why not learn a better way to manage our emotions and actions?
SO, HOW DO YOU WANT TO LIVE YOUR LIFE?
You essentially have two options when it comes to patience:
- Live your life on a short fuse. You can live as if your power is out (or on its way out) all the time. You can freak out and become upset at everyone and everything in your life that isn’t going your way. You can consistently feel disappointed, discouraged, frustrated, angry, and even resentful of others who practice patient living. In this life, you can support anxious and impatient feelings and lifestyles for those around you.
- Live your live with an abundance of power. You can live as if you have unlimited power everyday. You can act in grace and humility as life comes your way, the good and not-so-good. You can consistently feel encouraged, empowered, peaceful, and practice patience living on a consistent basis. In this life, you can also help to model a patience lifestyle for those around you.
Consider where you are today and where you would like to be tomorrow. In order to make change, begin by creating the goal you desire, and take small actions in an actively patient manner. Then, use passive patience as you continue to work toward your goals. Before you know it, tomorrow is here.