What does being patient mean to you?
Think about that certain person in your life that you feel you need to have more patience for or is it a situation like waiting in line at the bank or grocery store. Yuck.
Many clients will tell me, “if only I could have more patience in my relationship with my partner, or with my kids, or even myself, everything would be so much better.”
The definition of patience is “the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like and the ability to tolerate delay.”
Patience, as it's defined above, sounds like a tall order to me.
It sounds vitreous but also pretty painstaking and maybe even a little gruesome when it comes to relationships.
What if there was a better way to relate than to practice patience?
I read something recently about this concept of patience that was mind-bendy for me, I want to share it with you.
If you focus on the need to be patient, you are missing out on the joy that is available in the present moment.
Yes! That makes so much more sense.
Practicing patience as it’s usually defined means you are "having to put up with” behaviors or things you don’t like about someone, usually someone you love, or a situation you find annoying.
What if practicing patience could feel really good, fun even?
What if you could be more in the moment? What if you could feel more joy and love when that situation comes up, or your person does that thing that usually annoys the you know what out of you and makes you think, “I really need to practice more patience. I'll start tomorrow.” But it usually doesn’t go over so well in the moment, and you don't end up doing it like the diet you're also putting off.
Here’s how patience can feel really awesome, even in some of the most challenging situations.
What if you could decided to focus on everything that you love about this person or situation and totally be in the present and even find joy in it? And, I mean selfishly for you and not even for your person or to be able to say that you have the magical virtuous powers of patience in general.
Well, you totally can. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you’d like to be more patient with your partner because he or she acts like an emotional 5-year-old child half the time? I don’t know about you, but that sounds crummy to me if patience is "trying not to be annoyed." That sounds like trying to suppress annoyance is actually the practice of patience.
How do we get our minds to focus on what’s not annoying about the situation?
What if instead of practicing patience, which can take you out of the moment, you got to practice focusing on the love and joy of being in the moment. Did I just feel some of your eyes roll as you read this (wink, wink)?
I’m not saying it's easy, I’m saying it is possible.
You could think of your situation as a scene in the romantic comedy version of your life, instead of the terrible drama that you are subjected to when your partner acts X way. You can be present, being the observer of your partner, and not letting this behavior take you out of the comedy of your story and the feelings you want to have.
Other people’s behavior does not have to cause you negative emotion! Game-changer!
For instance, cut to these scenes:
You could think about all the ways that the two of you could laugh about this later, as you ride off into the sunset on your girl power Harley, leather tassels flying wildly from your favorite moto jacket.
Or cut to how the two of you will be giggling the next day about the absurdity of the situation while visiting the Lake Tahoe for some water skiing with your not-so-friendly-friendly-mother-in-law and the rest of the family.
Or while you guys are waiting together in line at the grocery after just having had the “should we have a baby talk,” which was a yes, OMG! when a real 5-year-old is screaming bloody murder. You both share a secret smile, cringe a little, but nonetheless have googly eyes for this kiddo and each other. Maybe "Mama said there would be days like this," is playing in this scene.
These are all feel good moments. Even though there is some duress and some patience to be practiced, it’s much easier with a different outlook and a different focus.
The cool part is you get to be present, fascinated, curious, and experience more joy whenever you focus on all the reason you love this person, even when they are being less than perfect.
You can literally do this with any relationship or situation in which you would normally wish you had more patience. It can be with yourself, your kids, your crazy boss, and the nosy neighbor. Maybe it’s a sci-fi this time, with a slapstick twist.
You can totally do this. And it’s so much more fun than practicing patience. At least for me anyway.
Don’t get me wrong practicing the plain yogurt kind of variety of patience is a good thing too. But I’m choosing to look at patience like this from now on, just because it’s so much easier to do, my relationships are better for it, and I get to experience more joy and love while being in the present moment.
You’re welcome to join me.
This month I’ve decided that I will look at my own life out of the lens of a hilarious chick-flick.
I wonder what funny things are in store for me, and how I can be the heroine of that story this month? I’m gonna do this just in case I might miss out on the good times, because of practicing patience the old way.
Take any situation in your life where you want to practice more patience and re-write your story for the month.
Maybe I’ll even post one for inspiration. Com’n we all need a little inspiration.