What is patience?
By definition, patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. To some, the act of patience may come easily, and to others it can take quite a bit of practice.
I've put together 4 simple ways that we all can learn to exercise patience, and become more understanding and less reactive.
1. Become aware of your emotions (Patience)
First, it's important to learn how to identify when you begin feeling impatient. Sometimes when you're caught up in the moment, you can become blinded to that fact that you're on edge. Start to ask yourself: Do you feel your blood pressure rising? Do you have anxiety about time going by so quickly, yet moving so slowly?
Once you become aware of these changes, ask yourself: If this situation is not going how I had initially planned, will this kill me? Is this a life threat? The answer is likely no, and that this situation is simply beyond your control. Try to step outside of the situation, and observe it as if you were watching a movie. What would you tell the main character?
It's important to focus on the bigger picture and let go of things we have no control of, things like being stuck in traffic. In this case driving safely, because erratic driving can lead to much worse consequences.
2. Move out of awareness and into action
Staying in the awareness stage of this whole process is not uncommon. Making the jump to action is hard and takes patience. We let our feelings completely take the wheel. It's important at these times to step away from the situation an take a short break. This will help you gain a new perspective and reassess the situation. If you are driving, you might want to pull over and stretch for a few seconds to remind yourself that going too fast might kill you or others.
For some, it can be as simple as carrying a small bracelet or necklace that reminds you to stay in the moment and try not to speed up time. Different tools for action might work differently for different people, but it's important to find what works for you.
3. It's okay to not be in control
In most cases when we run out of patience for something or someone, we experience a sense of losing control over the situation. Trying to regain control can make you feel even more irritated or stressed out. The key when this happens is to understand when to let go, and when to become assertive rather than stressed out.
If you have the tools to control that situation in a manner that is safe, without exercising anger, then by all means take the reigns.
However, be aware that some things are simply out of your control, and understand that you might fail, and it's going to be okay. Take note of what you learned about that situation, so you can make sure it doesn't happen again.
"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life. -- Chinese Proverb"
4. Patience gives way to success
Impatience gives birth to stress, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience leads to confidence, assertiveness, and a rational outlook -- which ultimately gives way to success.
It can be beneficial to talk to someone about your levels of impatience. They might have observed things you haven't seen when you are in a state of impatience. This way you can begin to develop the tools necessary to be aware, and learn to transition into a state of greater patience and peace.
People in general tend to gravitate towards people that are more patient, as we have a deeper connection and a heightened feeling of being understood. Try teaching someone to drive with impatience. My mother tried for months to teach me, but failed because I feared her anger. She then hired someone who's an expert in the field, and by the end of the day I was driving so confidently. That's because I got a sense of non-judgement, and felt safe around someone that showed confidence without having fear.