Why Do You Lose Your Patience? - A self-help topic we can all benefit from.
Let me start by saying everyone has a limit to their degree of patience. The only difference between you and someone else is how long it takes you to lose your patience. However, at some point, everyone will. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.
Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
(Courtesy of Google Dictionary) However, patience is a skill. A skill that everyone can learn. We all know people that have more patience than others, including ourselves. We also all know people that are less patient than others, including ourselves. The science is not totally clear as to whether having patience, or a lack of patience is genetic. Meaning, you inherit it from your parents. Most believe it is more of a human trait. A learned behavior, rather than an innate behavior. This means if it is a learned behavior, you learned it by watching others, your environment, how you live your life, or your experiences. versus innate behavior which is something that is hard-wired into your DNA from birth. If that were the case, then each person would be born either having patience or not having patience.
There are different degrees of patience that people experience. Also, a person can have more patience in one area of their life versus another. How many times have you been told are heard someone being told, you/they have more patience with the kids than I do. Or, you have more patience in traffic than I do.
There are some areas where a lack of patience is benign. Meaning, it really does not cause you or anyone else any harm. Like with all things in life, there is also a flip side to that coin. There are some areas of life where if someone loses their patience, and especially if they have other behavioral issues, it can lead to you harming yourself, or others. Road rage is an example. Losing your patience in an argument that results in some form of violence due to the lack of patience escalating to anger, which causes harm to others is another example. However, we do know that most causes of loss or decreased degree of patience have a relationship to time. A good example of this might be if you are having a conversation with your significant other. The conversation goes on and on and on. The other person keeps repeating the same things over and over again. You start to lose your patience because you view all this repetition as a waste of your time. You now ask the other person, why do you keep repeating what you've already told me? Do you like I'm stupid or don't hear you? In almost every case, the other person is now put on the defensive and strikes back with their own comments which usually have no either intentional or not intentional form of an insult attached to their reply. The result now escalates to anger and an argument will almost always follow.
There are some people that can only deal with a problem for so long and then begin to lose their patience. Rather than walk away and come back to it later, they continue, and this escalates to frustration. Now solving the problem becomes a matter of principle. They refuse to give up at the time. They insist they can figure it out. However, once the loss of patience escalates to frustration, you lose your focus. This will lead to increased frustration. You keep trying, and no matter what you do, you can't figure it out. Many times this is a result of trying to accomplish a task you are not good at, but you refuse to let someone else do it, or ask for help. There lies your recipe for disaster. Because now, you escalate to anger.
Yes. You lost it. Your anger has now taken control.
It owns you. No one can talk to you, no one can help you, and you lose your shit! Oh, and by the way. This is NOT gendered specific. Women, as well as men, suffer from this mysterious thing that has just taken over our mind, body, and soul. Relief only comes when we have released our frustrations and anger. How many cell phones do you think have been smashed against the wall in the period of a year? A good friend of mine had a teenage daughter who used to lose her temper when she became frustrated or angry. In one summer she destroyed four, mind you, four, cell phones out of anger. My friend replaced each one. Now it's not my place to judge what others do as they raise their children. However, I might let it slide once. The second time, my child would not have a cell phone until they could afford to buy their own. So you see, his actions only enabled her behavior until destroying things when she got angry became her learned behavior. SO I believe by now you have gotten my point.
HOW CAN WE FIX THIS DISEASE WE ALL SUFFER FROM?
Can it be fixed is the real question, and the answer is YES! Before I became a PAramedic and a Firefighter, I have very little patience. Yes, this caused me some problems growing up. The of which was I expected that everyone had the same sense of urgency I had. Meaning, if something needed to get done, DO IT NOW. When others did not, because they were just being themselves, I would lose my patience with them. Another issue for me was, when I want it, I want it NOW! Therefore, this led me to have higher debt at a young age than most. Fortunately for me, I was very active and always worked two jobs so I was able to handle the debt. So many cannot. However, as I matured, like many, I got tired of having debt. I am not referring to a car payment or mortgage payment, I'm referring to credit card debt. At one point when I was younger I had almost $60,000 in credit card debt, yet, never missed a payment. All because of my two learned behaviors. My parents never procrastinated. If something needed doing, it got done ASAP. That's where I learned that behavior. I am not knocking my parents. That was their way, they were both the same way, and it worked for them.
But when you are single, you now have to interact with many people. You quickly learn that not all people are the same, and do not think the same. Therefore, they are NOT the same as you. My debt came from my immaturity. A few of my friends came from well-off families. I was trying to keep up with the Jones. However, finally, I was not playing ball in the same park. We were great friends but in two different leagues. Now I finished college and had school loans. Well, almost my entire paychecks each week were going to pay bills and loans. Dating? A thing of the past. The ironic part is, that so many others are the same way, and still to this day have been the same way for many years. It is a revolving door that will eventually catch up to everyone. For me, this needed a major fixing on my part.
Now let's get to the part of fixing this disease we call lack of patience. Oh, and by the way, remember that example I told you about earlier about having a conversation with your partner and losing your patience? Well, that was also me. Therefore, if you haven't figured it out by now, when it came to having patience, I was a hot mess. I had very little patience, and to this day, I still have very little patience in high-volume traffic. I just hate traffic. I hate road construction that could be done during periods of less traffic. Nothing aggregates me more than traveling during the day and being stuck in miles of backed-up traffic due to road construction. The worse are rubberneckers. You know the type, the type that had to slow highway traffic down to 10 mph because their nosey ass could look at an accident on the other side of the highway that's going in a completely different direction.
There is only one way to fix this. Fix yourself to lessen your stress and in the end, have a better life and get along with others better. This is how I did it. Now your list may be different as things apply to you, but the principle is the same. However, I warn you, you have to stick to it so it now becomes your NEW learned behavior.
- Be honest with yourself. Look hard and deep and write down all the things you have very little patience with.
- Address them one at a time. If it's spending too much, formulate a budget, and stop wasteful spending. When I did that it did not take me that long to completely pay off every credit card I had.
- Now for the tough one. This one you need help with. Let your friends, family, or significant other know what your limitations are in a conversation. Meaning, don't continually repeat things. Understand I got the first time you said it, and if I have questions, I will ask. If and when, because they will, be who they are, nicely remind them to move on.
- Know what you can and cannot do. Do not attempt to do things when you don't know what you are doing. Certainly, you can learn to do new things. But know your limits. KNOW WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH FOR NOW AND WALK AWAY FROM IT. You can always go back to it when you are in a better frame of mind.
- Timing. Everything in life is about timing. If you have to be somewhere at a certain time, leave earlier, just in case you hit traffic. GIVE YOURSELF THE TIME IT TAKES TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. This alone will help you to have more patience because you will not feel your patience is being tested. So what if all goes well and you get there early. Isn't getting there early better than the stress you feel when you have to rush and hope nothing happens along the way that will make you late?
- Interact better with people you communicate with. That is the key to resolving an issue much quicker, in a less stressful manner, and without testing or pushing your patience to the limit.
Remember what I said earlier. You got to this point because these were all learned behaviors that now became your habits. Once you change your old learned behavior to a new behavior set, these will now develop into your new habits. Meaning they will become second nature for you. You won't even have to think about them. I remember a time when if I was working on something, I would stay up half the night or most of the night to finish it. Only to find out the next day I rushed it and it did not come out as good as I wanted it to and ended up having to do it all over again.
After taking a good, hard, and honest look at yourself, any behavior you have you want to change can be changed. You can do it. the result will be you will have a much greater degree of patience. Today, when I meet new people or talk to my friends, especially after a speaking engagement, I am always told, "I have never met anyone that has the amount of patience that you do."
Frankly. I believe them because I feel that I rarely if ever get frustrated, and I also feel I have an amazing degree of patience when it comes to myself, my projects, and with other people. It also reduces stress which is much healthier for you with regards to your health. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can do it. It only takes commitment to your cause to be successful. Although I will admit, I still hate traffic, but I have learned to deal with it much better.
Most things that revolve around self-help topics always start with the person taking a good, hard honest look at themselves. Be able to admit to yourself the areas in which you may be lacking and need improvement. That is always the first step. The best part is, it's personal between you and yourself. You don't have to share these things with anyone. You only have to be able to identify them and formulate a plan to change. Not only with this benefit you in every aspect of your life, but it will also make you a better person. It will provide you the means to handle anything that crosses your path with confidence. People like confident people, and lie being around confident people. It gives others a sense of security. So never sell yourself short. Never settle or quit on yourself. You are better than that. Always remember the one belief I have.