The POWER of PATIENCE

I want to buy a house, but I think I’ll get a car first 😉

We’ve all hear that “Patience is a virtue”, but we’ve also heard “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results”. If winners are indeed the ones who keep trying, over and over again, after each “failure”, or setback, are THEY actually insane?! Or is it not insane to keep doing the same thing, over and over, expecting different results after all??!! What a confusing couple of “truths”…

As I was going about trying to formulate into words, my thoughts regarding this beautiful paradox, I stumbled upon an excellent article on Psychology Today, serendipitously also titled “The Power of Patience“, by Judith Orloff M.D. And it can’t be said more beautifully.

Please enjoy:

As a psychiatrist, patience is an invaluable skill that I teach all my psychotherapy clients. In my new book I emphasize the importance of patience as a coping skill and how to achieve it. Frustration is not the key to any door. Patience is a lifelong spiritual practice as well as a way to find emotional freedom.

We need a new bumper sticker: FRUSTRATION HAPPENS. Every morning, noon, and night there are plenty of good reasons to be impatient. Another long line. Telemarketers. A goal isn’t materializing “fast enough.” People don’t do what they’re supposed to. Rejection. Disappointment. How to deal with it all? You can drive yourself crazy, behave irritably, feel victimized, or try to force an outcome–all self-defeating reactions that alienate others and bring out the worst in them. Or, you can learn to transform frustration with patience.

Patience doesn’t mean passivity or resignation, but power. It’s an emotionally freeing practice of waiting, watching, and knowing when to act. I want to give patience a twenty-first-century makeover so you’ll appreciate its worth. Patience has gotten a bad rap for the wrong reasons. To many people, when you say, “Have patience,” it feels unreasonable and inhibiting, an unfair stalling of aspirations, some Victorian hang-up or hangover. Is this what you’re thinking? Well, reconsider. I’m presenting patience as a form of compassion, a re-attuning to intuition, a way to emotionally redeem your center in a world filled with frustration.

To frustrate means to obstruct or make ineffectual. Frustration is a feeling of agitation and intolerance triggered when your needs aren’t met; it’s tied to an inability to delay gratification. At our own risk, we’ve become too used to immediate results. Emails zip across the globe in seconds. Parents text messages to their kids to come in for dinner instead of yelling from a front porch. You can get the temperature in Kuala Lumpur or the Malibu Beach surf report with a click of a mouse. Despite the digital age’s marvels, it has propagated an emotional zeitgeist with a low tolerance for frustration–not just when you accidentally delete a computer file, but in terms of how you approach relationships and yourself. Without patience, you turn into your own worst taskmaster. You treat spouses and friends as disposable instead of devoting the necessary time to nurture love. But with patience, you’re able to step back and regroup instead of aggressively reacting or hastily giving up on someone who’s frustrating you. You’re able to invest meaningful time in a relationship without giving up or giving in. In fact, patience gives you the liberating breath you’ve always longed to take.

Frustration prevents emotional freedom. Expressing frustrations in an effort to resolve them is healthy, but it must be done from a non-irritable, non-hostile place. If not, you’ll put others on the defensive. Wallowing in frustration leads to endless dissatisfaction, placing us at odds with life. This emotion makes us tense, kills our sense of humor. It also leads to procrastination; we put things off to avoid the annoyances involved. Conquering frustration will revive your emotional life by making it your choice how you handle daily hassles and stresses.

I’m defining patience as an active state, a choice to hold tight until intuition says, “make your move.” It means waiting your turn, knowing your turn will come. Once you’ve gone all out toward a goal, it entails trusting the flow, knowing when to let the soup boil. With patience, you’re able to delay gratification, but doing so will make sense and feel right. Why? Intuition intelligently informs patience. It’ll convey when to have it and if something is worth working on or waiting for. As a psychiatrist, I’m besotted with patience because it’s intimately intuitive, all about perfect timing, the key to making breakthroughs with patients. I can have the sharpest intuitions or psychological insights, but if I don’t share them at the right moment, they can do damage or else go in one ear and out the other. With regard to this, I strive for enormous patience; anything less would impede healing.

I’m also struck by the fact that every world religion sees patience as a way to know God, an incentive for me to practice it, and perhaps you too. Whereas frustration focuses on externals, patience is a drawing inward towards a greater wisdom. Lastly, patience doesn’t make you a doormat or unable to set boundaries with people. Rather, it lets you intuit the situation to get a larger, more loving view to determine right action. Patience, a gift when given or received, moves within reach when you can read someone’s deeper motives.

To practice patience, try this exercise from my New York Times bestseller, Emotional Freedom. I do it all time to turn frustration around in long lines. I advise my patients to do this too.

Emotional Action Step. Practice Patience In A Long Line

To turn the tables on frustration, find a long, slow-moving line to wait in. Perhaps in the grocery store, bank, post office. Or if you’re renewing your driver’s license, dare to take on the mother of all lines in the DMV. But here’s the switch: Instead of getting irritated or pushy, which taxes your system with a rush of stress hormones, take a breath. Tell yourself, “I’m going to wait peacefully and enjoy the pause.” Meanwhile, try to empathize with the overwrought cashier or government employee. Smile and say a few nice words to the other beleaguered people in line. Use the time to daydream; take a vacation from work or other obligations. Notice the stress release you feel, how your body relaxes. Lines are an excellent testing ground for patience. To strengthen this asset, I highly recommend standing in as many as possible.

Practicing patience will help you dissipate stress and give you a choice about how you respond to disappointment and frustration. When you can stay calm, centered and not act rashly out of frustration, all areas of your life will improve.

Judith Orloff M.D. (Sep 18, 2012). The Power of Patience. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-freedom/201209/the-power-patience

Our lives are what we make of them y’all. We are all absolutely the creators of our own universes. So let’s all just add an extra dose of patience into our daily lives- I bet the results will be otherworldly!!

Happy DAY ONE y’all! 😉

Swedish Dave

6 Replies to “The POWER of PATIENCE”

  1. I’m having a big do over right now. So many life changing things have happened these last few years. I’m turning 50 next year and am trying not to freak out about it. Both Klaus and I are trying to find a sustainable lifestyle that really encourages us to be healthy in all aspects of life. Patience is a virtue here and we’ve decided to slowly implement changes, one at a time.

    “All or nothing” is in your (our) genes. I don’t know how many times mamma said “jag börjar på måndag”, a new diet usually, one that would be The Final One. She did great for a few days or weeks (all), then she would just overhaul the whole idea of eating healthy and make bad choices all the time (nothing). To me it’s important to find balance, something that time gives me perspective on. I sort of like the person I’m becoming while giving patience a shot. (Great article btw. Thanks!)

    1. I can totally relate to you there kära kusin! “Big do over”!! And I’m in the thick of it too..

      I love how you and Klaus are focusing on sustainable living, and not just in one or two aspects of life, but in life as a whole. I think that this is extremely important and hope that more & more people will move in that direction asap!

      Oh I love Faster Elin, and I even remember hearing her say things like that in the past. Memories that put a smile on my face. Memories that also remind me of those “all or nothing” genes.

      On my journey towards creating balance in my life I’ve found that “all or nothing” can serve me well in certain regards, but not all. Trial and error, being present in the beautiful process, not being afraid to fail, and being willing to keep on “fighting”, are all a part of how I practice patience, and being truly grateful for every one of my priceless moments.

      I’m glad you liked the article! Thanks for reading! Love you Monica!!

  2. I found the word “patience” running through my head all day yesterday… and there were many situations presented to practice it! You’re right, the day went much smoother 🙂. It’s definitely a practice worth perfecting. ✨ Thank you for sharing your thoughts and this intuitively perfect article.

    1. Thanks for sharing Jen! I swear to science, I feel like if I think about any situation I find myself in, on any day at any time, most of the time being present with patience as my MO would serve me the best! Practice makes Permanent!!!

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