Do you ever crave something so badly, you can’t wait any longer? A successful career, traveling abroad, a nice apartment, or that fabulous pair of (too expensive) shoes? The “I need this now” feeling can help get the things you crave quickly, but can also lead to frustration and unwise choices.
Empower yourself with patience.
While I practice yoga, I’m still not enlightened. A slow internet connection can get on my nerves. People having small talk with the cashier while I’m in line for my Monday morning surviving Café Solo: AARGH!!! (Fortunately, the amazing coffee ladies at the train station know me and my coffee is on the counter when I walk in.)
Daily life doesn’t really encourage us to be patient either.
We speed things up to get quick results: workouts, diets, dating, courses. We scroll, swipe and click to get instantly what we want, and we Google fast answers.
Some of us freak out when a lover or bestie doesn’t text back after an URGENT proposal to go out for drinks. Life is short! Waiting is wasting time.
But what if life challenges us with delays and problems for a reason?
What if your successful career, world trip, or that great apartment doesn’t seem to be around the corner? What if the coffee lady doesn’t give a shit you’re in a hurry, nor does your slow internet connection? And what if your colleague or manager gets on your last nerve day everyday?
Of course, it’s normal to lose our patience; we are not the Dalai Lama. Yet, life gets easier when we can accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming (too) annoyed or anxious.
Impatience seems to slow everything down, makes annoying people more annoying, and can cause serious health problems. Patience gives you peace of mind when things are challenging. It helps to improve the relationships you have with people around you. The more patience and compassion you have for yourself, the more you can learn.
That’s the theory. But how do you become more patient?
I am not a “Patience Master” either, but when my ex (who I’m still friends with) texted me early in the morning, on my day off, that he couldn’t open the suitcase I had lent him — “I NEED TO CATCH MY FLIGHT BIANCA!!” — I didn’t kill him. Even after running to his house in my pajamas only to find out it was impossible to open the damn thing because the lock was broken.
I said: “Calm down, amor. Catch your flight to Moscow and search over there a big Russian guy to break the suitcase open. Adios. Te quiero.” We are still friends. He made his flight. It was all okay.
I have written more than 500 stories and I am still translating software manuals to pay the rent. Trust me, I might not be that friendly when I am in line for my Monday morning coffee, but I force myself too to be patient.
I force myself by laughing, not taking certain situations (like my ex and his broken luggage) and obstacles too seriously, and accepting I can’t be in control all the time. When a person is really annoying, sometimes I imagine him or her naked. I know it sounds childish, but when I can’t control the actions of others, at least I can giggle (discretely) about them.
Breathing is also key in practicing patience.
When you’re anxious and overly attached to outcomes, your breath shortens. Your brains need oxygen to think clearly! Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth when impatience attacks you. A couple of times should be enough.
It’s good to remember that life is short, but don’t waste that precious time being impatient.