We all have patience to some degree or level, but just how much we have on a day to day basis is the real question? Have you ever consciously thought about your patience level, and how it affects those around you at work, and in your personal life?
A lack of patience goes hand in hand with intolerance of others, and that’s a pretty negative state to be in. So let’s ask ourselves now: on a scale of one to ten (1-10), one being low and 10 being high, what would you rate your level of patience at? How serious do you think not having patience is to sustaining healthy relationships with your employees, colleagues, clients, friends, family and just as importantly with yourself?
Here are a few examples of how we sometimes lose patience: waiting in line; driving; working with difficult employees, colleagues, clients, your boss; not getting your own way (that’s a popular one).
A continuous lack of patience creates intolerance towards others and/or situations, and can cause a spiral affect in your life, if you let it. It can cause personal pain; mentally, physically as well as emotionally; it can create conflicts with others; it can cause high levels of tension and feelings of stress; it can cause you to lose friends, spouse, partner and family; you can lose sleep, lose your appetite, or eat too much and gain weight, and possibly become ill. Yet we tend to just accept the fact that we don’t have patience; we dismiss it, and carry on as if there is nothing we can do about it.
So what can you do to increase your level of patience you ask?
Here are three suggestions to start with:
1) Take a moment to breathe deeply, a minimum of three times.
2) Eliminate judgement of others
There is the belief that all people are created equal, BUT not all people are raised equally with ; the same guidance, direction and values as you or I.
I tend to reflect on this belief often when I encounter unpleasant people because we don’t truly know what is going on in someone’s life, or what values or lack of values they have that makes them behave the way they do. If you can draw on compassion, kindness and empathy in place of frustration, anger, and judgement, you may be able to accept others for who they are, and then focus on changing your emotional attitude towards them.
3) Healthy self-talk
Each time you feel you are losing your patience with someone; tell yourself to stop, and then ask yourself; what is going on with this person right now? What can I do to help him/her? How serious is this? Nine times out of ten we get upset and lose our patience because we are not getting our own way. Yes, really!
This is from the Heart Math Institute: Love in your heart (inner ease technique)
If you are upset for 5 minutes – it will last for 6 hours. The hearth math reverses this feeling.
Do this process three or four times a day for the next few weeks. You can do it with your eyes open, in a meeting, in line at a store, anywhere. It becomes your default state.
Place palm of both hands over your heart area. It starts the flow of oxytocisn – which is a love hormone when we bond, (when a woman gives birth this hormone is released) or fall in love with someone. This starts the flow.
Heart breathing – imagine you are breathing through the center of your heart.
Inhale and exhale through your heart. Picture it or feel it. Imagine the breath in and out.
On each inhale imagine you are breathing in love. Exhale normally. Breathe in love, ease and compassion. Take in love compassion, let if fill with all these emotions.
Put your hand down and open your eyes.
Increasing your level of patience, even a bit at a time, will help you feel better. The next time you find your patience wearing thin, try taking those deep breaths to help you become more tolerant of others.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato