If patience is a virtue, many more of us would be wise to cultivate it. Yet, this isn’t easy for some, especially those who are always in a hurry. Life is, after all, hectic. So, if you want to practice patience, here are some tips to get started.
Patience: Tips on How to Practice It
Like a well-tended garden, patience requires certain conditions to thrive.
- First, it’s best not to be anxious. Anxiety fosters quick action that’s not always well thought out.
- Second, rushing doesn’t lend itself to being patient. There’s too much opportunity to miss important details in the frantic desire to get something done. No wonder the outcome is often less than desirable.
When everything is in chaos, it is definitely challenging to be able to see things. This alone often convinces you to barge ahead without thinking about the consequences.
Too much on your mind? You’ll likely:
- Jump to conclusions.
- Make quick judgments that may be wrong.
- Snap at others without good reason.
- Give up or give in.
Analyzing the Muddy Water Metaphor
Think about the muddy water metaphor. How can you know where to step when it’s all clouded with swirling mud? Which path should you take? Should you just whistle for luck and put one foot before the other?
On the other hand, if you give the water time to settle, not only can you see more clearly, but you’ll also be better able to see where you might have made a disastrous mistake. One false step, and you could have been in a mess.
Learning to Be Patient Requires Practice
Patience, as evidenced in real life and not metaphors, requires practice. You won’t wake up tomorrow and automatically be an expert in being patient. How can you train yourself to be patient? This is especially important if you’re prone to making quick decisions and even pride yourself on being able to size a situation up and go with your gut. Take heed of these suggestions:
- Envision where you want to go before you act. You’ll make better choices if you can see the possible alternatives before you act. This is patience in action. You will be better able to choose the option that looks the most promising and has the most likelihood of success.
- Take a few deep breaths. Impatience often manifests in blurting out whatever’s in your mind. Usually, this includes saying unkind or harsh words. Whatever you’re facing, take a few deep breaths – before you say anything. This will calm your nerves and give you time for a more reasonable response or rational action. You’re exercising patience.
- Remember what works. See if you can recall a time when you exercised restraint. You thought about what you were going to do before you did it. If those situations turned out well, it’s a clear indication that you were patient. Model your behavior on what worked before. It can serve you well again.