Is it true that if you want to feel better about yourself, you need to be more patient?
Let’s think about this. Do you often feel frustrated and stuck when you try something new? If things are not working the way you want, do you give up?
What if you flipped this and decided that no matter how challenging things are when you try them for the first time, you keep going? You accept that learning something new takes time and it’s not easy at first…and this requires patience.
Think of the all the amazing things you would achieve if you gave yourself the time to do it.
You would be:
- more likely to achieve your goals
- less overwhelmed by challenges
- better at conflict resolution
- better at handling stress and stressful situations.
This would make you feel better about yourself because you are more congruent with yourself and others – you say what you mean and mean what you say.
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2007, found that patience is also connected to your health and wellbeing. In the study, participants who were more patient experienced less neuroticism, depression and health problems.
Patience shows us the importance of delayed instead of instant gratification. Often times when you want something, you want it now! So when you don’t get it straight away, you get frustrated because you feel like you’re doing something wrong.
Then you feel stuck which can affect your self-esteem especially when you compare yourself to others. You start to feel like you are behind or “just don’t get it”. You jump from one thing to the next and feel even worse when that doesn’t work out straightaway!
Here are some ways to become more patient:
- Change your perspective
When you are being impatient, you are often looking at things from only your perspective.
For example, is the person in front of you at the supermarket self-checkout really taking forever to pay for their groceries or do they have an unseen disability which means it takes them a little longer to pay?
- Be more Compassionate…to yourself and others
When you judge and are impatient with others, you are probably judging yourself and projecting that onto others around you.
When you let go of the idea that “things need to be done the proper way”, you free yourself and others of having to be a certain way and everyone gets to be themselves. This allows you to be self-compassionate and kinder to yourself which then creates room for you to be compassionate to others.
- Let go of Past Experiences
Why is it that sometimes the weirdest things can annoy you? You can get so upset if your partner is 5 minutes late to meet you, but are perfectly fine with your friend being 15 minutes late for brunch date?!
This may be because of past unresolved experiences you bring into the present. For example, you hate your partner being late because your parent(s) may have always been late picking you up from school when you were young , but you didn’t feel you had the power to do anything about it back then.
It’s time to acknowledge the old emotions that past experiences bring up for you and let them go. You can do this through journaling, therapy and coaching. Over time, you find yourself being less emotional and reactive in these situations.
- Dealing with Core Beliefs
Through coaching, you may realise that you make assumptions about yourself, others and the world that aren’t true . These are called Core Beliefs, and they can definitely make you feel impatient.
A common belief is not feeling worthy. For example, during an interview you talk over the interviewer, not allowing them to finish their sentence. You tell yourself you already know what they going to say, so you answer before they finish asking the question to save time. However, your impatience really stems from your belief that you are unworthy of getting the role and are self-sabotaging.
- Be Present
You can become very impatient when you focus too much on the past or future instead of being present. For example, you are annoyed about having to queue because you are worried you’ll get a parking ticket (future), and this store always has a queue (past).
In moments like this, practising mindfulness allows you to be fully present. You become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and have more control over them. You notice what is going on the here and now including what is going right, not only what’s going wrong.
All of the ways above will take time, effort and yep, you guessed it: patience. Because learning to be patient also requires patience. And patience after all, is a virtue.
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