Do you find you have times when you find yourself coming across coincidences? Then again, I have heard it said there are no such things as coincidences. Maybe we are led in certain directions for a reason. This week I have read several bits of advice urging me to find patience, so I thought I should take notice and ask myself whether I am a patient sort of person, and what showing patience really means.
‘We can be bombarded with all sorts of new ideas and clever thoughts and these more than have a place, but sometimes a handful of patience shown to us can be far more helpful.’
I think of myself as a patient person generally, but then I think of certain recent examples where I have struggled to keep my cool. This very day I was held up in my car for several miles, driving behind a slow moving tractor carrying an enormous pile of manure; I squirmed behind the wheel, straining my neck trying to look around the vehicle for a chance to overtake safely when there was none. My hand hovered over the steering wheel, itching to beep the horn. I asked myself why the driver wouldn’t pull over to let the long stream of traffic overtake. I huffed and puffed and felt annoyed. But eventually I got to where I was going and soon my equilibrium returned. I soon forgot about the incident until now. Now, I can see that yes for a moment there was a bit of a hold up, but was it really worth getting annoyed about; allowing the blood pressure to go up and the adrenaline to flow? Definitely not. I would have been far better off keeping calm and listening to classic FM. Ah well, maybe next time.
This was a relatively minor incident, and fairly common to all of us from time to time. Mostly we learn to calm down and move on in these situations. But what about the situations where patience is really important? For anyone in a position of relative power, it is easy to feel full of a sense of importance and forget that others also have something important to say. I remember a small child at school, stricken with shyness, being told to hurry up and give her answers to a question and being made to look silly as she stumbled over her response. Had she been shown patience and kindness, she would have had a chance to get her answer right and gain confidence. We see examples of impatience around us on a daily basis – and none of us are immune to it. When people are busy and workloads are heavy it is easy to fall out of step with how we should treat others. Will the hard working doctor with a long queue of patients always remember to treat each one with compassion and realise that every person coming into his waiting room may be harbouring worries about their health? Will the politician dealing with a hundred questions a day treat every person he comes into contact with with the same tact and interest? Will the busy vicar treat every member of his flock in the same way after a busy day visiting parishioners? We hope so but we can understand if they sometimes fall short of what we expect.
When trying to develop more patience I am going to try a few tips :
To take a day where I make patience my goal for the entire day. Make a concerted effort to take my time and think about everything I do, be mindful and live in the moment.
Practise slowing down.
Practise delaying quick outcomes.
Practise thinking before I speak.
Ways to BE patient:
Pay attention to what makes me feel like I am in a hurry.
Take my mind to obedience school and learn to be still and quiet for a while.
Learn to let go – it doesn’t always matter to me that I need to be right about everything.
Be patient about learning patience!
Plan ahead – that way I will not feel as stressed if I allow plenty of time i.e. to get to appointments etc.
I am going to take time (perhaps next time I am stuck in traffic!) to notice all the good things that life offers.
So the importance of patience should be realised. Patience when learned, can help us to reach for the stars. With patience we can stop ourselves making hasty decisions we may later regret. Life is not about living in the future – it is about slowing down and taking each day as it comes.