Character Quality of the Month
March 2019 – Patience
Taking the time necessary to work through a difficult situation
To practice Patience I will:
- change the things I can change and accept the things I cannot
- keep trying until I succeed
- make the most of my wait time
- not interrupt
- not complain during delays
There’s Power In That Pause
-Jill W Tomey
Patience may be one of the first character qualities we teach our children. We tend to associate it to waiting patiently but have you ever thought of it as a tool against anger or over-reacting? When we react in anger, in the heat of the moment, we are more likely to say or do something we regret. Patience asks us to pause before getting upset and perhaps be able to craft a response that identifies the hurt without causing more. This is not to suggest that we repress all anger and end up with an ulcer but rather, Patience, when practiced with Acceptance and Compassion, can head off the angry response all together.
The first step in becoming more patient is recognizing when you are impatient. Come up with a phrase you can use to flag this feeling such as “I am impatient” or “This is impatience”. When the traffic comes to a stop and you feel like screaming, pause, and say to yourself your flag phrase. Identify the source of the impatience and then identify what you can do about it if anything. If you can’t do anything, dig into your Acceptance stash and deal with it. While you have time on your hands, in this instance, examine if you can change anything to prevent it from happening again later. If this route is always congested this time of day, is there an alternate route or time you can choose? Is there something you can do to make use of this time better such as to practice a presentation, think through an issue at work, plan meals for the week or a grocery list? My ‘go to’ in traffic is a to listen to an audio book on my phone. I always have several loaded. Traffic jams have become a gift of time to spend with a book.
What happens if the traffic jam is unexpected and you are due to give a presentation? Getting angry and impatient will still not move those cars. Controlling your response to the delay may make the difference as to whether it impacts your presentation. Starting late is one thing, but if you let impatience disrupt your flow, rob you of energy or just scramble your thoughts, you are late and ineffective. Exercising Patience may also give you the clarity to think of calling a trusted colleague who can do a portion of the presentation in your absence giving you time to arrive.
We can become more Patient, but it takes practice. Being Patient is a way of being more compassionate towards others and ourselves. It also helps us to take the time necessary to work through a difficult situation and calmly accept things as they are. That always feels good.
This month, create the pause so you can use the Power of your Patience.