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Patience is not a virtue that everyone is born with. It is largely a learned wisdom. Passing through certain stages in life makes us learn patience. Becoming a parent is one such stage. Working in a hostile environment is another stage where patience is rapidly cultivated. Patience can therefore a learned and adopted.
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries in a JULY 2020 article, has described nine ways for enhancing patience. We can discuss some of these here, with modification.
Understanding patience triggers is the first step. A patience trigger is an indication that one is about to lose patience. It could be a situation, a person, or certain phrases of language. When we understand and recognize our triggers, we are better able to avoid these episodes.
Reframing the situation is next. It is an important step. We choose our feelings, which leads to our response. Reframing the situation helps us to modify our patience response. We may be able to act more patiently.
Thinking of something more pleasant in a stressful situation also helps to maintain patience. For example, waiting in a long queue is quite stressful but if we choose to divert our thinking, we shall feel better. For few years, I was traveling overseas extensively. Sometimes I was in transit for long hours, even not on so big airports. I never allowed myself to feel stressed. I would mostly read book, have coffee, have something else to eat, relax for a while, and I was fine.
Empathizing with others helps to contain impatience. Empathy means we get into their position and see things from their point of view. It is a revealing feeling many times which helps us to hold our impatience.
Feeling and practicing gratitude is a great thing and is an effective antidote to most stresses. When we start feeling grateful, we count our blessings, the good things. It provides a refreshing balance against the stress we are feeling at that particular time.
Another issue with getting impatient is that we take the whole situation more seriously than it deserves. If we keep it light, use some humor and be less serious, our level of stress and resulting impatience will go down.
Life throws many unexpected situations at us, some of which are beyond our power to tackle effectively. For couple of years, I was in a workplace which was highly stressful. I had put the famous prayer on my laptop desktop which is attributed to Alcoholics Anonymous.
God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference
Looking at this prayer always provides a tinge of instant relief through a sense of reality check. We are not always in control and should not behave to be.
Mindfulness is the state referring to our ability to understand who we are, where we are, and what we feel. This is awareness, and it helpas us to gauge the situation and choose our response properly, without getting unduly impatient. Practicing mindfulness shall improve our emotional responses in a positive way.
Finally, if we still feel we are unable to cope with impatience, we should ask help from others. We can enlist help from friends and families to gather strength and energy to deal with impatience.
This closes our discussion on the topic of patience. Impatience, losing patience, losing manners, and losing temper are but various states of the same process. Impatience is a bad omen in any situation. It can harm relations, jeopardize business and self-image.
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