Why is Patience so Hard?

By Sunday, July 16, 2017 0 , , , , Permalink

According to Psychology Today, it’s not easy, but even a dog can do it… “My dog eats two meals a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. She is trained to sit until the bowl is on the floor before she leaps to start eating. She does it, but it is a real challenge. She gets excited from the moment that she sees the food being put in the bowl, and it requires a tremendous act of will to keep from leaping to the bowl before it is set down.

But we’re not dogs, we can do better right? Actually as humans, we’re quite similar – because it’s all about the reward. Question – Is it worth the wait?

For example, “People in this study showed a very high rate of delay discounting, just as animals do. That is, unless people were offered a lot more juice to wait, they tended to select the immediate drink.”

But let’s take a step back…” Merriam Webster defines patient as steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity. An athlete who is patient will see a challenge through from start to finish, despite the struggles encountered on his journey. Patience is more than a virtue, it is a powerful weapon. Famous novelist Leo Tolstoy (perhaps best known for War and Peace) summarized the importance of patience with the following: “The strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience.” ”

Unfortunately for many of us, we think we don’t have enough time to be patient. We run around like chickens with their heads cut off in every direction. From the moment we wake up to the moment we put our smartphones down to actually get a few hours of zzz’s. We are running rampant. Our patience is thin. And it’s very rare. Remember the times you got annoyed at the slow driver, or the pedestrian who wouldn’t get out of your way. Cue the scene from Office Space when Peter Gibbons is trying to get to work but the guy with the walker on the sidewalk is moving faster than him. The struggle is real.

So what can we do? My thoughts are that it’s tough and we just have to realize that. It takes a conscious effort to be more patient and kind each day. Think about it from the other person’s perspective. Maybe they’re having a rougher day than you and need those extra minutes to get to where they’re going.

Breathe for a moment. Count to three and see if you can find a way to be patient or find a new “route” to get to where you need to go without anger and frustration.

It’s so far from easy. I’m the first one to admit, I have little patience for things like waiting for people to show up, or a slow person on a sidewalk, but I have to remember to provide the same courtesy I’d want in return. Practice a little extra kindness (that can turn into a form of patience).


image source – pixabay

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