Patience; ˈpāSHəns – noun: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
This post: my tangled stream of consciousness on what patience is and why it’s important.
Patience doesn’t come easy to some of us. Personally, I have too little of it. I think it’s result of a combination of insufficient coping skills which weren’t learned at a young age, coupled with an anxiety-induced need to control things. Nevertheless, the reasons why it comes more difficulty to me don’t necessarily matter, what matters is what I’m going to do about it!
This morning it has been difficult to find patience. The toddler is waking everyone when HE wants to wake, despite the baby and I bring fast asleep in happy dreamland. That is infuriating when tired and all that sounds delightful is a normal, solid 8 hour stretch of sleep. I’m highly tolerant to many, many things, but sleep deprivation is not one of them. Have kids they said, it would be fun they said. Haha! I truly never realized how little parents sleep. Kudos to all the parents before me, you hid it well. I have to remember that these years are fleeting and the struggles I have now will not persist forever. Although, they will evolve into new, likely much more complex issues… but I will at least have a full nights rest to handle them. Right? I pray so, for my poor brain’s sake.
We all have dreams, hopes, and goals of what we want to accomplish with our life, and we all experience set backs. Some of these struggles are out of our hands; an illness, a financial problem, an unexpected burden, and so on. Some struggles are small; daily things such as a toddler who hates sleep, a coworker who doesn’t cooperate, or a commute that wastes two hours of the day. These hurdles have something in common though, they’re all out of our control. We can either choose to throw a tantrum, pout and linger in our anger and resentment or we can move on.
Yes, patience is a lot like constantly being the “bigger person,” which is why it isn’t always easy. Patience is truly a form of tolerance. In order to tolerate something said thing must be burdensome to a degree. It is something out of your comfort zone and out of your control, and while it may bother you in order to remain tolerant and patient you allow it to exist without confronting it with negative emotions. As far as our goals and dreams, we see this interaction through letting life happen as it will, waiting, praying and watching for our dreams to come to fruition without negative emotional interaction. We allow ourselves to be inconvenienced when life doesn’t happen on our terms.
Negative emotional interaction, to me, are reactions like worry, fear, anger, and anxiety in response to external stressors. An example could be anywhere from a fussy baby to public speaking. If we can wrap our head around the concept that no matter what we do time will pass and therefore the moment of worry/fear/anger will also pass, we can instead focus our energy on making larger and more productive strides to our end goal. Would you rather spend your time feeling disgustingly anxious over an interview or researching the company and practicing answers so you nail the new job? Having patience with yourself is the same as having patience with others. It’s the same as being patient with the fussy baby– in each experience a stressor can either be aleviated or exacerbated.
In the big scheme of things, we can either complain about our life the way it is now or we can cut the negative talk and accept it while moving forward. Pray about it, plan your steps, but live in the now and accept your life as it is this very moment, because that is all you’re guaranteed: this moment. Pray for guidance and actually wait, listen and accept your current life. It may not be easy, for most of us it won’t be. We need the struggles and the complexity they provide our lives because without them we might never learn our true purpose. Without them we may never have the chance to do great things. In that regard they may be welcomed with open arms as the catalyst to potential success, no matter how dire they first appear.
Have patience and allow joy to bloom wherever you are in your life.