Patience is more than a virtue, it can also be a resiliency.
It is not about getting stuck or being afraid to act. Patience is the deep breath between situation and response. It is about choosing to respond at the right time in the right way. Patience allows you to be deliberate (stop, think, respond) instead of impulsive (react, stop, think.) Like any resiliency, it is cultivated through practice.
Here are four helpful things to do while practicing patience:
- Check your emotions: Ask yourself if the need to take action is based on an emotional trigger. Remember that strong emotions can cause us to react in ways that are not helpful. Responses should be based on values not feelings. Find ways to regulate your emotions.
- Clarify your values: Decisions based on what you deeply value will always get you closer to your true goals than ones based on immediate relief or reward. Make sure to spend time reflecting on what values are most important to you. So, when a response is required, your options become clearer.
- Evaluate outcomes: You don’t have to be able to predict the future or have every step mapped out precisely. You should, however, be realistic about the possible consequences of your actions. Be honest about what you have control over and what outcomes you can live with.
- Hone your skills: Many actions result in a change that requires a new or improved skill set. Although we can learn as we go, time can offer an opportunity to practice needed skills. Stay focused on growth. This can build self-efficacy and hope.
So, the next time you have the urge to react impulsively to your current situation. Take a deep breath and practice patience.