Do you consistently use patience? Are you typically a patient person? Is patience a strategy for you on a regular basis?
It is ok if you said no to all of those questions, because we all struggle with having and using patience. Patience is useful for enduring many of life’s challenges, but it is often hard to utilize at just the right times. In an ideal life, we would exercise patience everyday and in all situations, especially if we knew all of the benefits of living a patient life. But we do not have or live an ideal life, because we are human and life seems to just happen without our permission. So, we have to deal with many aspects of life that are less pleasant than others, and this requires our patience.
Likely, you can recite some of the basic
purposes for having and using patience consistently:
- Less stress and anxiety
- Ability to be compassionate toward others
- Acceptance of life challenges
- A forgiving mindset
- Able to manage more in life
These are all common benefits of being and demonstrating patience. If you notice, we’re talking about two types of patience: being a patient person, and showing patience to the world. Before we talk about some unexpected benefits of patience, it’s important that we make this distinction clear.
Being patient is actively making patience part of your character, behavior, and thoughts.
- Your character is the qualities that make up who you are, and often how others would describe or perceive you when they interact with you.
- Our behavior is our character in function and action, it is what others see us “do” everyday and everywhere we go.
- And of course our thoughts are the internal messages, ideas, details, and beliefs bouncing around in our mind.
If patience is an active part of our character, then it will be used when other people describe us: she/he is a very patient person. When patience is displayed in our behavior, it is an experience for others to witness: he/she is so patient, even while upset. When we utilize patience in our thoughts, we are able to tame our busy and anxious thoughts by reminding ourselves to slow down, take some deep breaths, and be patient. When practicing “patient thinking” we are able to consistently use patience in all areas of our life. This includes our behavior and character. Our mind is a powerful tool to become consistently patient in all that we do. And this is showing patience to the world.
Besides the obvious benefits of patience, here are three things that may surprise you about being and demonstrating patience:
- You will sleep better. Yes, this may be a given, but many people do not know or understand how stress, anxiety, and frustration (complete opposite emotions of patience) negatively impact us. If our mind and bodies are under constant stress because we are always worried about something, irritated upset, or exhausted, then this creates a sleep deficit. We are unable to calm our mind and body when we need to sleep because we are still on overdrive. Exercising patience during the day can produce restful and rejuvenating sleep at night.
- You will have a better social life. Patience is a wonderful skill which gives us an edge when interacting with others. When we are patient, we are often much more caring, kind, understanding, peaceful, and willing to help others.
Most people want to be around someone with positive energy like this. We all can find or know people who demonstrate drama, stress, impatience, disgust, and even some evil tendencies, and it gets old. We need more positivity in our lives and it starts by what we think about and then who we surround ourselves with. Be the person who others want to hang around and feel good when in your presence because you aren’t easily moved or overly emotional.
- You will receive respect from others. Similar to having a better social life, patience also commands respect. When people can stay cool under pressure and stress it confuses those who expect the opposite reaction. Most people expect someone in difficult circumstances to act irrationally and everything but patient. However, if you demonstrate patience regardless of anything on your plate, people will want what you have and may even seek your advice for challenging situations of their own. Besides all of this, giving and receiving respect makes us feel good and useful.
Patience is not all about just taming our anger. It is a lifestyle choice that can have a major impact on our life and well-being, if utilized consistently. While nobody is perfectly patient all the time, patience should still be a life-long goal that we all strive for, because emotions such as frustration, anger, anxiety, and impatience often keep us in a tangled mess of negative thinking and acting. Exercising patience can help us to learn to calm our restless mind, along with unproductive thinking.
When our thoughts are in alignment with patient efforts, our life experiences can be perceived as positive and as we face challenges, we can have hope for a positive outcome.