Cultivating patience in an impatient world

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet." -Aristotle

A few months ago, something happened that shocked many people across the country: Facebook and Instagram were down. While this may sound like such a silly thing, many were panicked by it.

They couldn't load their feeds, upload photos, or access what they had posted on their account. Many tried reloading to see if that worked, but it didn't, and almost immediately, alarm bells went off!

What if I would never be able to keep in touch with family again? Or become out of touch with what's going on in the world? Or no longer be able to share how I feel and what I do with others?

All these crazy reactions and thoughts, just because two apps were down.

What they didn't know was that it would take less than a day to get both apps/sites back up and running again, and everything would quickly go back to normal.

If only they had been patient and waited for things to get resolved, a lot of stress and grey hair could have been saved!

But unfortunately, patience is something that we all struggle with, and there are many reasons why!

We live in a world where we have everything at the touch of our fingertips.

Got a question? Google has the answer!

Need to plan a route? No need for old-school maps, we've got GPS!

Too lazy to go to the shops? Amazon is your best friend!

The options are endless of what we can do online, and it is so convenient and helpful!

Unfortunately, this convenience affected our character and society. Due to these changes in technology, our patience grew less, and we've become very accustomed to convenience.



INSTANT GRATIFICATION

There is a term used to define this mindset, and it is called instant gratification. It's when we want something with an immediate benefit, or satisfaction, with a favorable outcome.

We get distracted by seemingly little "joys" around us that take us of course, and further away from long-term goals.

We exchange a future benefit for an immediate benefit, but is often less rewarding and positive.

You're hungry now, so instead of waiting for a delicious healthy meal at home, you quickly grab some fast food.

You know you should workout but instead decide to put it off and sleep in, derailing your weight loss efforts.

You stay up late talking with friends but wake up late for work the next day.

These are typical examples of instant gratification and happen more than we realize and would like to admit. It's a natural human urge to want (nice) things immediately, but it often does way more harm than good.

Many factors play a part in instant gratification, such as our age, mood, environment, attention span, and upbringing. But the good thing is we can train our minds to break these destructive cycles and habits.



WHY PATIENCE IS IMPORTANT

Patience is at the root of a well-balanced person, and although no one is patient all of the time, it is worth a try!

Patience helps with self-control, to have empathy and care towards others, and to turn our focus away from ourselves towards others.

Imagine how happier cashiers or service providers would be if customers kept their cool when faced with inconveniences.

Or how much better a mother will feel when everyone around her doesn't get angry when her baby doesn't stop crying.

Patience can significantly change our lives, but also the lives around us.

And once we learn to be more patient, it will also help us make better choices when it comes to instant gratification.

We will be better equipped to say no to the temporary, fleeting instant gratifications and say yes to the options that improve our lives.



STEPS TO CULTIVATING PATIENCE

So, how can we best form patience in our lives?

1. Make better choices
A lot of the impatience we feel boils down to the choices we make. Try to be more aware of your choices and how they affect you and others. Choose things that help you rather than hurt you.


2. Focus on what makes you impatient
Tune in with how you feel in situations where you get impatient. Why are you feeling this way? Identifying the answers to these questions can help pinpoint what areas you can work on and grow in.


3. Reframe your thinking
Start changing how you look at things that make you impatient. Try actively to stop getting upset or whatever the negative emotion may be, and remain calm.


4. Practice makes perfect!
Practice being patient in challenging situations. Try taking deep breaths, and keep working towards the goal of living a more patient life!



Are there times in your life where you could have been more patient? What techniques do you use to be more patient in day-to-day tasks? Let us know in the comments below!


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