I’m sure you’ll agree that patience is a character trait that we all view as important in order to live a happy life. And yet it’s something many people struggle with, without necessarily wanting to fix. Few people actually want to learn how to be more patient.
If you are impatient, you often don’t realise or agree that it is, in fact, a bad thing. Impatient people rarely want to become more patient – it’s seen as something that is other people’s problem. Other people’s stupidity, slowness, selfishness, and other negative traits have led to us feeling impatient.
In essence, we see it as something happening to us. You have caused me to become impatient. Sound familiar?
It’s important to understand that impatience is an emotion that is a result of something deeper, but that something is not caused by external factors. It comes from within.
Why do you become impatient?
Think back to a time in your life when you’ve been so impatient you could absolutely burst. See if you can think deeper, to understand what was going on inside you to make you feel that way. (Important to note here: if the answer is fear, then dig deeper – fear is another alarm bell type of emotion).
To help you along, here are some examples of underlying causes:
- To fulfill the need to win
- The constant striving for perfection
- To avoid feelings of worthlessness
- To receive love and acceptance
There are of course endless possibilities here, but these might help you in your quest to get to the bottom of your own impatience.
How to be more patient
Now that you’ve figured out your “why”, you can start to coach yourself away from your usual reaction the next time you feel the impatience monster on your shoulder.
Stop, take a breath, and examine your thoughts, as if you’re watching yourself from outside your body. What are you saying to yourself? Is it helpful? Is it healthy? Is it coming from your underlying cause?
At this point, you have the power of choice. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen every time, but you’ll slowly begin to fight back against your emotions, and take back control. It’s equally important not to beat yourself up and resort to negative self-talk should you lose the battle. The most important thing of all is that you’re engaging and becoming more mindful of your patterns.
Do you struggle with patience? Have you figured out your trigger points and root causes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.