Building Patience- 5 Unusual Ways To Do It!
We hardly think about building patience even though there is so little of it these days. I don’t know about you but I can’t say that I have enough patience to see me through queuing, a boring meeting or a pompous know it all.
And I don’t like that. So I am going to work on building my patience reserves.
I have written elsewhere about it. However, I figured that writing about building patience might help me and others like myself live less chaotic lives. Besides, patience is a virtue that bears writing about again and again.
Let me put our impatience into context. We live in a fast paced world where we are able to witness events happening around the world live or soon after. We have fast food, instant messaging, convenience stores, and online everything.
We are accustomed to getting things on the spot, as soon as we want them.
That being said, I feel it is a waste of energy to constantly be expecting things to have happened like yesterday.
Is there a point we are trying to prove?
We often confuse patience with fortitude.
Patience is different from fortitude. Fortitude is strength of character that sees people through hardships, tragedies and tribulations and your child’s tyrant of a class teacher. Most faiths urge their faithful to embrace fortitude during turbulent times and to show hope that better days will come. I aspire to this kind of quiet strength and hopeful resilience myself. To be calm and centred through trying times; to remain hopeful and strong when everything is falling apart, wow that is a major goal of mine!
I am not talking about that kind of character even though they are closely related.
I am speaking of having patience in every day things : delaying gratification, waiting our turn, excusing someone, stopping and just being.
There is nothing noble or honourable in proclaiming ‘busyness’ or being ‘too important to wait’ (hence the idiots who cut through queues and shout about supposed ‘slow service’) and overtake on the roads causing accidents as a result.
Being a patient person improves your relationships- (no one wants to be around a human short fuse); being patient does not provoke your blood pressure and therefore your over all wellbeing improves.
So how do I attempt to cure my own impatience? How do I go about building patience?
I hang around little children.
The little darlings have no sense of time. They will stop and stare(and wave!) after everyone in brightly coloured clothing or a bicycle. They will want to examine every little shoot or flower bud; circle around a lamppost four times before they let you tug them away.
They will teach you patience when you are feeding them. They will choose one pea and reject another when we all know there is nothing more identical than…peas in a pod. So if you find your patience account is running low, go babysit your nephews.
I grow something
I don’t have much of green fingers, but I find growing something makes me slow down.
Since my daughter Princess has started her own little herb garden I don’t personally grow much of anything these days. But I can vouch for the fact that when I used to it would force me to focus and wait patiently. You realise it takes time to reap rewards from the work you put in. You begin to understand that literally what you reap is what you sow.
You will also find yourself waking up and rushing to see if any shoots however tiny have reared their little heads.
You will devotedly water them, swat away any nasty insects that threaten them and yes, you will even talk to them sometimes 😁
I read an actual physical book
There is something about turning real pages; about the feel of paper under your fingers as opposed to swiping a screen that makes you appreciate the moment. If you want to go back a page or skip ahead you turn the pages until you reach the place you want. You can make notes underline, doodle using a pencil or a “real” highlighter.
Reading a book might not seem like a legitimate way to build your patience but take it from me it works.
Listening requires sitting still, paying attention, keeping your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself until it is your turn. It is being well mannered enough to allow the other person to finish his piece without interjecting. It takes a solid human being with substance to give everyone his due.
I make something from scratch
There is something immensely satisfying about doing things yourself. Whether it is cooking from scratch- nothing out of a mix or a tin. I love picking out the dirt from lentils, soaking them and cleaning them out before cooking them. Its painstaking work but i do it because it calms and slows me down.
I fast. All major faiths of the world have fasting as part of their worship. Abstaining from food drink and other pleasures for a period of time teaches you to say no to yourself, builds discipline, nurtures patience and empathy for others and is overall fantastic for your health.
Even on days you are not fasting in the religious sense of the world, you can try (if you have no health issues although fasting has been proven to improve many health conditions) delaying your meals for as little as ten or fifteen minutes.
I know some of us get “hangry” when we have not had something to eat but trust me you are doing yourself, your health and your character a big favour!
Patience is not for sages and righteous people. It is for all of us to aspire to. This crazy fast and dizzying world needs more of it.