Aug. 19, 2011: Patience isn’t always easy (but it’s worth waiting for), by Patricia Gerhardt

August 19, 2011 by

The technology of today’s world doesn’t require as much patience as we had to have in the past. With a “zap” or two in the microwave, we can have fresh, “homemade” meals; with the silent touch of a cell-phone button, we can view photographs just taken and see loved ones who are continent away. If we’re willing to undergo the pain and expense, we can lose a 100 pounds in a matter of hours with the aid of lyposuction and a surgeon. Now, with the recent increase in Kansas speed limits, we can get from here to there quicker than ever before.

There are some things, though, that can’t be achieved quickly. Remember the saying “good things come to those who wait”? Even with all of today’s technology, there are things worth waiting (and working) for.

Good solid marriages don’t just “happen;” they take time and effort on the part of both individuals. Youth who want to excel at a sport know it takes discipline and practice — and then more practice. Individuals pursing an advanced degree must be willing to sacrifice and devote several years of study before they can receive that piece of paper. Healing — whether it’s physical, mental or emotional — also takes time.

But patience doesn’t come easily for most of us. We become irritated, frustrated or angry when forced to wait or delay action. We’re not able — or even willing — to control our emotions and proceed calmly. When we want something, we want it NOW.

It’s also easier to be more patient with acquaintances than with ourselves or those close to us. We’ll give others more leeway than what we are willing to accept of ourselves or family members.

When we act this way, are we really being fair?

If we can control our impatience, both with ourselves and with others, we’ll be healthier and happier. We won’t get as angry, stressed or overwhelmed. We’ll control our emotions rather than  let them control us. We’ll make better decisions because we won’t be acting on impulse. And we’ll get along better with others because we’ll take the time to understand and appreciate them.

Developing more patience isn’t easy, but it is a worthy goal to strive for.

At the beginning of the day, think about the day ahead, what you will be doing and who you will be seeing. Make a conscious effort to live in each moment of the upcoming day. Slow down. If you’ve a tendency to rush things along and can’t wait for things or people, stop. Take several deep breaths and think. Decide not to get worked up or anxious. Avoid saying or doing anything without first weighing the consequences. Relax your muscles. Remove yourself from the situation.  (You can do this mentally even if you’re not able to leave physically.)

Ask yourself: “Is this something really worth getting all worked up about? In the big scheme of things, how important is it, really?”

Patience is a valuable character trait to develop, and it requires practice and self-discipline to achieve. But it can be acquired — with persistence and, yes, patience.

 

— Patricia Gerhardt, a member of the Year of Peace committee, is a Family Consumer Sciences extension agent for Kansas State University — River Valley Extension District.

 

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