As a psychiatrist, patience is an invaluable skill that I teach all my psychotherapy clients. In my new book I emphasize the importance of patience as a coping skill and how to achieve it. Frustration is not the key to any door. Patience is a lifelong spiritual practice as well as a way to find emotional freedom.
We need a new bumper sticker: FRUSTRATION HAPPENS. Every morning, noon, and night there are plenty of good reasons to be impatient. Another long line. Telemarketers. A goal isn’t materializing “fast enough.” People don’t do what they’re supposed to. Rejection. Disappointment. How to deal with it all? You can drive yourself crazy, behave irritably, feel victimized, or try to force an outcome--all self-defeating reactions that alienate others and bring out the worst in them. Or, you can learn to transform frustration with patience.
Patience doesn’t mean passivity or resignation, but power. It’s an emotionally freeing practice of waiting, watching, and knowing when to act. I want to give patience a twenty-first-century makeover so you’ll appreciate its worth. Patience has gotten a bad rap for the wrong reasons. To many people, when you say, “Have patience,” it feels unreasonable and inhibiting, an unfair stalling of aspirations, some Victorian hang-up or hangover. Is this what you’re thinking? Well, reconsider. I’m presenting patience as a form of compassion, a re-attuning to intuition, a way to emotionally redeem your center in a world filled with frustration.
To frustrate means to obstruct or make ineffectual. Frustration is a feeling of agitation and intolerance triggered when your needs aren’t met; it’s tied to an inability to delay gratification. At our own risk, we’ve become too used to immediate results. Emails zip across the globe in seconds. Parents text messages to their kids to come in for dinner instead of yelling from a front porch. You can get the temperature in Kuala Lumpur or the Malibu Beach surf report with a click of a mouse. Despite the digital age’s marvels, it has propagated an emotional zeitgeist with a low tolerance for frustration--not just when you accidentally delete a computer file, but in terms of how you approach relationships and yourself. Without patience, you turn into your own worst taskmaster. You treat spouses and friends as disposable instead of devoting the necessary time to nurture love. But with patience, you’re able to step back and regroup instead of aggressively reacting or hastily giving up on someone who’s frustrating you. You’re able to invest meaningful time in a relationship without giving up or giving in. In fact, patience gives you the liberating breath you’ve always longed to take.
Frustration prevents emotional freedom. Expressing frustrations in an effort to resolve them is healthy, but it must be done from a non-irritable, non-hostile place. If not, you’ll put others on the defensive. Wallowing in frustration leads to endless dissatisfaction, placing us at odds with life. This emotion makes us tense, kills our sense of humor. It also leads to procrastination; we put things off to avoid the annoyances involved. Conquering frustration will revive your emotional life by making it your choice how you handle daily hassles and stresses.
I’m defining patience as an active state, a choice to hold tight until intuition says, “make your move.” It means waiting your turn, knowing your turn will come. Once you’ve gone all out toward a goal, it entails trusting the flow, knowing when to let the soup boil. With patience, you’re able to delay gratification, but doing so will make sense and feel right. Why? Intuition intelligently informs patience. It’ll convey when to have it and if something is worth working on or waiting for. As a psychiatrist, I’m besotted with patience because it’s intimately intuitive, all about perfect timing, the key to making breakthroughs with patients. I can have the sharpest intuitions or psychological insights, but if I don’t share them at the right moment, they can do damage or else go in one ear and out the other. With regard to this, I strive for enormous patience; anything less would impede healing.
I’m also struck by the fact that every world religion sees patience as a way to know God, an incentive for me to practice it, and perhaps you too. Whereas frustration focuses on externals, patience is a drawing inward towards a greater wisdom. Lastly, patience doesn’t make you a doormat or unable to set boundaries with people. Rather, it lets you intuit the situation to get a larger, more loving view to determine right action. Patience, a gift when given or received, moves within reach when you can read someone’s deeper motives.
To practice patience, try this exercise from my New York Times bestseller, Emotional Freedom. I do it all time to turn frustration around in long lines. I advise my patients to do this too.
Emotional Action Step. Practice Patience In A Long Line
To turn the tables on frustration, find a long, slow-moving line to wait in. Perhaps in the grocery store, bank, post office. Or if you’re renewing your driver’s license, dare to take on the mother of all lines in the DMV. But here’s the switch: Instead of getting irritated or pushy, which taxes your system with a rush of stresshormones, take a breath. Tell yourself, “I’m going to wait peacefully and enjoy the pause.” Meanwhile, try to empathize with the overwrought cashier or government employee. Smile and say a few nice words to the other beleaguered people in line. Use the time to daydream; take a vacation from work or other obligations. Notice the stress release you feel, how your body relaxes. Lines are an excellent testing ground for patience. To strengthen this asset, I highly recommend standing in as many as possible.
Practicing patience will help you dissipate stress and give you a choice about how you respond to disappointment and frustration. When you can stay calm, centered and not act rashly out of frustration, all areas of your life will improve.
The importance of patience should be realized by every individual. Patience in life can make them reach out for the stars. With patience you can avoid making hasty decisions. Life is not about living in the future or in the past. Life is about accepting the present moment.
Whenever you are in any sort of trouble, people often advise you to have patience. Why, instead of advising you about the solution, do they ask you to stay calm and composed and be patient?
In this modern age, most of us have forgotten to be patient and get irritated very quickly over minor things like a traffic jam, stock market ups and downs, a baby crying and such things. In fact, patience is a virtue that everybody must possess. Patience makes us better people.
Here are a few reasons emphasizing the Importance of Patience in life:
Patience Shapes a Talent into Achievement
To shape your talents and inborn abilities into real achievements, you must have patience.
To master any art or to enhance your talent, you need to make continuous effort for a long time.
To achieve your dreams, you must have the zeal to overcome challenges and the power to overcome roadblocks comes only from patience.
While desiring to achieve your dream, you might get intimidated by the huge tasks ahead to achieve it. Divide your task into smaller steps and set a schedule to achieve those steps. It will help you develop patience and achieve your dream in a organized way.
One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life ~ Chinese Proverb (Tweet this)
Patience transforms relationships
Sometimes, in our relationships, we become defensive, irritated, and say something to hurt others. We do not realize the importance of patience and end up making hasty decisions. Whenever you feel defensive against the person, try to be patient enough to take time to think over another person’s positive qualities.
Patience helps you to be empathetic
Building empathy towards others is very important if you want to live a hassle-free life. If you get irritated by a crying baby or a loud child playing in front of you, you must think about developing your patience. Patience helps you build empathy towards others.
Patience helps us accept other people as they are and makes us tolerant. By being impatient, you suffer more than other people.
Patience helps acquire positive attitude
If things are not going the way you want them to, instead of getting frustrated, you must learn to be patient. You need to see things and situations in a positive light to make your life happier. And to get that positivity, you need to be patient.
If you find any life situation challenging, or find it difficult to bear, try to re-frame that situation and try to see its positive side.
Patience makes you healthier
Anger and stress are two things that are enough to ruin a person’s health. And patience is the antidote to both these illnesses. Being patient, you can overcome any challenging situation with more flexibility and in a better way. Being stress-free and happy helps you stay you healthier.
You can be patient if you have clear knowledge about your goal and if you are putting the desired effort in the right direction. There are many ways to achieve anything. The trick is to stick to your own plan when others around you seem to be getting ahead much faster than you. Yes, they may be enjoying more success than you, but you know nothing about where they are ultimately headed.
Patience is an important tool in overcoming frustration. Patience allows us to suspend judgment long enough to make informed decisions, thus paving the path to a happy and peaceful life.