So often people think of patience solely in the context of waiting– waiting for things to come, waiting for some result to arrive. I love this quote from His Holiness the Dalai Lama because this is the aspect of patience that I am well familiar with from my own life. We must not neglect patience in our dealings with one another; that is the time when we need it most.
Practicing patience is about taking an inward step back from the situation, taking a big, death, calming breath, and then stepping back into the moment with an increased sense of compassion and understanding. It is inevitable that others will tempt us to lose our cool by frustrating us, condescending us, or misunderstanding us. We cannot ultimately control those exterior triggers. All we can control is our reaction to those triggers.
With time you will find, I think, that practicing patience is not actually about benefiting others, being kind to others- or maybe it is that also- but it is really about being good to yourself. You are the owner of your own energies. Impatience leads to anger, frustration, and great upheaval. And if you choose that path, you will be the one to have to lug around those emotions. Utilizing patience is the greatest tool and power you may have in dealing with other people. Never forget that the option for patience, giving yourself three seconds to do that inward process, exists. The person you are speaking to, the one pressuring you for a response, will just have to wait.
Go inside, get quiet in there, restore your own center and sense of peace. When you rejoin, you will be able to act in a cool, level-headed manner.
This week, make patience your number one priority. In all moments, with all people that would normally cause a great rise out of you, practice patience instead.
Image credit: Jackie Luo