Cultivating Patience for Self Care

patience

"Patience with family is LOVE.
Patience with others is RESPECT.
Patience with self is CONFIDENCE.
Patience with God is FAITH."
-Unknown*

Patience is severely lacking in our current society. We are all so anxious to get somewhere, and when I reflect upon myself and others, I often find that somewhere is away from everyone else. We all want to be doing our own thing, unburdened by anything other than our own wants and needs. Free to indulge in our personal happiness. Basically, we’re all selfish.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. Selfcare is very important. Everyone should absolutely make sure they are hygienic, well fed, well rested, and in a mentally stable place. Everyone should also fight to ensure these basic needs are met. But, if they are all met, and your internal rage monkey still wants to pull a gun on the guy who just accidentally cut you off in traffic, you might be being a little too internally absorbed.

So, how does a lack of patience equal selfishness and how do we recognize when we’re being assholes? It’s pretty simple really. Learn to ask yourself what the other person may be going through. That’s it. That guy that cut you off, did his partner just give him the ol’ heave-ho and he’s feeling a little down and totally missed that sign telling him his lane was about to end? Maybe that middle finger wasn’t really a super compassionate gesture.

How about when you get all worked up over your friend that rarely asks about how you are doing; did you maybe forget that she is a single mother who also takes care of a mute, sick parent? It’s likely rare that she gets adult conversation and she probably deeply appreciates you being able to listen, even if it doesn’t occur to her to mention it.

Oh, and what about that guy at work who talks ad nauseum about the fun things he did in his younger years, not seeming to notice anyone’s social queues that they are so over listening? Did you know that his wife is a celiac diabetic and he has custody of his granddaughter with a heart condition? When he isn’t at work, he is home caring for very ill people. Is it really gonna kill you to listen for 5 minutes while he remembers times where he used to enjoy his life?

A couple of those were pretty specific examples, right? Yeah, well, I’m not innocent of being a selfish prick sometimes either. But, I TRY not to be.

Somedays, I have to put in immense effort.

But knowing that I am taking that effort and making myself a better person, well, that really does go a long way toward helping out that aforementioned mental stability. Ultimately, when I cultivate more patience for my fellow human, I am giving myself the gift of peace and harmony in my reality. So even if it's from a selfish perspective, patience for others is always a good idea.  Your simple act of patience radiates out to make the entire world a better place.

*The chosen quote is listed as author unknown. However, there is a similar quote by Adel Bestavros.

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