Best Ever You Founder and Hay House Author, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino has 8 solutions and exercises to be more patient in our lives.
There’s no doubt that waiting for someone or something could be one of the most frustrating things ever!
Whether it’s waiting behind people in the grocery store line, waiting to return an item you received as a gift, waiting for a book to be released, waiting for someone to get ready for a night out, waiting for someone to pay you, waiting in line, waiting for the weight to finally come off, etc… It can try your patience and you are WAITING…. These days, even the fast food line wait is on the increase and look out if we are asked to pull ahead and wait or if the person in front of you seems as if they are taking forever. Commutes are longer. How about that person in the drive-up teller line taking more than their usually allotted space and time to use the machine…? Frustrating!!! Right????????? You might be thinking to yourself, “Hurry up.” or “Geez, what is taking so long?”
Let me explain my giant NO. If you take a glimpse at all of these scenarios I’ve just listed, even if the person in front of you is taking forever or the person is delayed in sending you money or your book has been delayed – WHATEVER it is – it’s really about you and your ability or inability to sit peacefully with time and your patience levels.
Here are eight ways to help make patience your very best virtue.
1. Understand Patience
Patience is the ability to wait. Patience is having the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset or impatient. I like Wikipedia’s definition: “Patience (or forbearing) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity.”
Exercise: Get a piece of paper or your journal and write down 5-10 circumstances that bother you and cause you to become impatient. Now for each of them ask yourself why you are impatient. Do you know why?
2. Understand Impatience
Impatience is when someone is angry, provoked or restlessly eager. I like Webster’s definitions.
- not willing to wait for something or someone : not patient
- wanting or eager to do something without waiting
- showing that you do not want to wait : showing a lack of patience
Exercise: Get a piece of paper or your journal and write down 5-10 ways you think you could be more patient in each of the circumstances that you wrote down for the first exercise. For example, if you are in a long line and feel yourself getting impatient, what could you do? Try to consciously do and become more patient. Try to catch yourself in your scenarios and behave in a way that is more loving to all involved.
3. Understand Desperation’s Role in Impatience
Sometimes desperation can lead us to do things we may regret or would have perhaps not even thought about had the situation been different. Desperation could lead to impulsive behavior. If you are feeling desperate, it could be best to step away from the situation completely, if possible, and choose another course of action.
- Have you ever felt desperate?
- Do you feel like there are varying degrees of desperation?
- Have you ever felt like all options feel like a roadblock?
Generally, there is an option that you can choose that will have the least amount of impact. There might still be fallout or issues, but again, with desperation, it could be very helpful to get another person’s thoughts or ideas, seek help and recognize how damaging impatient or impulsive or desperate behavior can be both short and long term. Why do you feel desperate? Do you need assistance?
4. Recognize That Patience is a Somewhat of a Learned Skill
When things like texting and email are seemingly immediate, waiting in real time for someone in front of you at the grocery store can seem like an eternity. Difference experiences require different levels of patience. Even the Cookie Monster, in 2014, got a dose of delayed cookie gratification through new lessons. If you weren’t born with patience being your best virtue or if you lost it along the way, you may have to spend some time with yourself being aware of what triggers impatience or how you are behaving. If you are the only always in the rush or losing your patience even in the slightest ways, maybe you need to change your lifestyle in small ways that will have a meaningful impact.
Exercise: Intentionally place yourself, the next time you to the grocery store with 15 items or less, behind the person with cart or two carts filled. Stand patiently behind them. Maybe even ask them if they need a hand. Do this a few times, until you don’t feel like you have to rush through the express lane.
Advanced Exercise: Apply the concepts of this exercise in your life in situations where waiting is required. This could be a doctor’s office, traffic, the fast-food line, a restaurant, etc.. When you start to wonder “What is taking so long?” ask yourself is it really them? Is it you? Could they be a little speedier, but are doing their best? Are you in a rush and perceiving that everyone else is slow and in your way?
5. Realize That You Can’t Force or Control the Future
Don’t Peek. Unless you have a time machine we all don’t know about, it would appear that the future unfolds and happens and a fair amount of it is out of our control. When you take actions or behave in ways that go against waiting,remember: You are responsible fully for absolutely everything you think, do, say, want, need, think, etc… and that you do have a choice to wait. I think about wanting each of our four babies to be born. During those many many months of pregnancy, I can remember having to slow my excitement levels down to stay patience with the process. Whether it is pregnancy, writing a book, designing a website, unveiling a new concept, there is waiting.
Exercise: Think about a time when you wanting to something to happen before it could or would actually happen. Think about a date or event in the future. Think about your excitement levels or anxiety levels with respect to the date or event. Is it something you want to have happen, not have happen? Are you happy, sad, scared, overjoyed? How are you feeling? Between now and then how are you going to deal with the wait? I think of Christmas and the one year I, due to not being able to wait, peeked at the presents. The same concept applies to us as adults. Wait it out.
6. Become a Little Less Exciting and a Little More Dull
This doesn’t mean extinguish your light, but rather to brilliantly shine it in the right direction and place and time. Patience is a little more boring than making quick decisions and being impulsive. Patience involves restraint, allowing for a dealing with delays and being peaceful with however the future plays out. Patience lacks drama. It lacks rush and it lacks impulse and lack of loose planning or visualization. By becoming a bit less exciting and a little more dull, your light may shine even brighter and clearer. Your light may have intention and focus.
Exercise: Slow yourself down. Pick an activity that you normally rush through and slow yourself down. Did you do things differently? Did you see anything new? When our children were younger, we had a bunch of school years where we have slowed our morning routine to a crawl. Last year it was rush, rush, and more rush and this year it is time to spare and relaxing before leaving out that front door. Everyone is so much happier, aware, and no one has forgotten anything at home. Also, everyone is very healthy in the morning, which last year was very rushed. We backed up our alarm start time to 6:14. It was a random fun number picked by the kids and much better than last year’s 6:45. This for an out the door time of 7:25.
7. Understand That Your Impatience May Hurt Others
When you are impatient, what part of yourself are you coming from? Are you being vindictive? Are you rushing to do it first? Are you in a place of financial desperation, loss, grief, despair? Are you really paused and patient and thinking about what you are saying and doing? What you behavior is as a result? Is it light or dark? Is it from your heart or from your hurt? Are you going to hurt someone? Are you trampling all over someone to get what you want quickly? Are you realistic?
Exercise: With your journal or paper, ask yourself about why you are in a rush or why you can’t wait? Are you hurting someone with your actions, including maybe yourself? Do you have any alternatives? Can it wait? What’s you rush? Some examples I’ve seen of larger issues at play are age, health, and finances as reasons people list for feeling rushed. Is this a real rush? Is it urgent? Is it life-threatening?
8. Put Time and Patience Into Perspective
There are levels of urgency. There are levels of patience. There are in fact moments when we can’t wait. I absolutely wouldn’t have wanted the team of doctors saving my life in 1998 to step back and claim, “Patience Everyone, Let’s see how this plays out for this young lady.” I’m sure they were adequately patient in applying life-saving techniques and didn’t all rush to do the same thing at once, but did have high urgency levels. I’m also glad they didn’t wait it out. So, is the matter life-threatening? Is the matter urgent? Understand that a lack of money or overdrawn back account is, for example, not generally life-threatening, but more of an inconvenience. Waiting in the fast food line is generally not urgent. Standing behind someone in the checkout line who is taking too long is generally not urgent. You may feel a sense of urgency and impatience, but the situation itself is non-urgent. Change also takes time. A new business takes time. Things must Percolate. Percolate Patience. Patience is wise. Trust the Universe to deliver. Understand that your moments matter and how you spend them and your time matters.
Exercise: With your journal or paper, list up to 20 things you need to get done or want to do in your life. Now rank them in order or importance. Is anything completely urgent? On another page, list 10 everyday types of situations where you could be more patience with people. Can you apply time and meaningful choices to the matters?
Aout Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is a best-selling author, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur and a recognized leader in personal development and optimal mindset strategies. For more than 20 years, she’s been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and people from all walks of life how to illuminate their light within and help them reach their highest, best potential.
As the founder of the Best Ever You Network, she created a brand with more than a million followers in social media and is on a mission to inspire you, to raise awareness and to promote greater excellence within each of us and in the world.
Her best-selling book PERCOLATE-Let Your Best Self Filter Through is available wherever books are sold.
Visit ElizabethGuarino.com or BestEverYou.com