Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Art of Patience, by Alex Blackwell

Today’s world is a need it right now world. Emails, text messages, and cellular telephones have made us much more accessible and our level of accountability much higher. The expectations for immediate attention are overwhelming and can negatively impact our productivity and patience.

However, learning to be more patient can increase feelings of happiness as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Patience can also improve productivity because it creates a better state of mind, a clearer state of mind, for better decision making.

Patience is becoming a lost art. We sometimes feel others becoming more impatient with us if we are not quick to answer or respond right away which will only exacerbate our own impatience. However, most things worth having take time to obtain – they take patience. Art cannot be rushed and patience cannot be lost if the picture is to be finished. Consider the following four strategies to help you restore the art of patience.

Keep the Proper Perspective

An effective way to establish the importance of keeping the proper perspective is to ask the following question which has been asked countless times before: Imagine you are looking at a 16 ounce glass that contains eight ounces of water. How full is this glass?

If your life perspective tends to be more pessimistic and impatient, your answer is half empty.

If your life perspective tends to be more optimistic and patient, your answer is half full.

Patience allows you to see the good things, the positive things in life. It helps you see the good in any situation and to realize the value that does exist.

Keeping the proper perspective makes any situation more tolerable and it provides the patience needed to wait as the rest of the glass is being filled.

Don’t Assume

Too often what you think is what you fear the most. When a particular event or situation is off in the distance, we, as humans, have the tendency to assume the worst. We assume things will not work to plan or we will be disappointed with the results.

Assumptions lead to impatience because the lack of knowledge and uncertainty can make you feel very uncomfortable. Instead, consider the facts. Look to see if there is any history that can tell you what has happened in the past in order to provide assurances for the future.

In my marriage, I sometimes assume the periods of time when our intimacy is derailed, for whatever reason, will never get back on track again. I grow impatient and frustrated.

Even though my edgy attitude and irritation were not the obstacles to our intimacy barrier in the first place, they become the obstacle because my impatience creates such a negative feeling.

I’m learning to remind myself not to assume these dry spells are nothing more than just the realities of life getting in the way. I’m still learning not to assume the worst. Mary Beth still loves me and cares for me – we are just in a busy cycle.

When I’m able to keep these assumptions at bay, and my impatience low, the intimacy is restored in a very natural and loving way.

Show Empathy

Murphy’s Law always seems to be evoked when I have to run to the bank during a short lunch break and upon arriving in the bank’s lobby I’m greeted with a very long line of other exasperated customers.

Not only does my impatience skyrocket, but so does my frustration and anxiety. Neither is good for my health, or my mood.

Rather than focusing on an inconvenient situation, take a full step back and consider how others are reacting to the same situation. When you are the one to provide the levity; the sense of humor, and can turn something negative into something positive, you are in charge of your own level of patience associated with the situation.

Showing empathy to others also helps you to see the circumstance for what it really is, not how it appears to be or feels. Empathy allows you to refocus your energy away from the feelings of impatience and on to something much more productive for everybody.

Providing empathy for others who are becoming increasingly impatient can allow you to hear some good advice coming from your own month – you just need to remember it when it’s your turn to receive it.

Excited by the Wait

The ability to reframe a situation by looking at it from a different point-of-view is another way to restore the art of patience.

Again, is the glass half-full or half-empty? Too often we want to rush through the here and now to get to the thing we are waiting for and anticipating. But rather than dreading the wait, learn to become excited by it. The waiting can be the hardest part when we forget to keep living during this time.

Often the gap of time between when you know something is going to happen and when it actually occurs can be one of the best times for self-awareness to take place. You can learn a lot about yourself during this period.

For example, the time spent in a marriage engagement can be focused on planning how you want to spend the rest of your life. If you are waiting to lose weight and improve your overall health, you can be excited by how you are taking back some control over your life.

The journey, the waiting, may have a more significant impact than the end result. Your impatience may keep you from gaining this experience. Better patience, on the other hand, can be the ideal catalyst for growth to occur.

A renaissance in the art of patience can help to create a beautiful life.

Read more from Alex Blackwell at The

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