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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How does one learn patience?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (32651points) April 25th, 2017

There are times I am very patient. I was in a traffic jam on a freeway yesterday at a dead stop for 20 minutes. I rolled down the windows and shut off the engine and sat there quite patiently.

In another situation in my life, I’ve been waiting for something for months that has been promised. I’m completely over the waiting. I’m done. Give it to me already!

How about you? Are you patient? Is it possible to learn patience?

Tag as I wrote it: patience.

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24 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

By realising that few things really matter.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Who gets to decide what really matters?

Becca543's avatar

I learned to have patience by breaking things, wasting money, making a fool of myself and getting hurt many, many times because I was in a rush to get what I wanted when I wanted it the quickest and the easiest way possible.
After many years of fuck ups, near misses, pregnancy scares, near death experiences etc.
I survived long enough to learn to be more patient and now I try to teach my child patience so he doesn’t have to learn the hard way like I did.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

You will need more life to happen to you.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’ve had quite enough of life happening to me. Thank you very much.

Sneki95's avatar

You can learn patience by realizing that you’re not a special little snowflake.

The main problem with impatient people that want everything right this moment is this belief that the world owes them something and that they’re so damn important that everyone should drop whatever they’re doing and plead them.
Well, sorry hun, you may think the sun turns around you, but it’s actually the other way around.So, pipe down now.

All good things take time and effort. If you want something immediately, fine, but you’ll get some cheap crap we came up with just to get you off our back.
If you want something good and qualitative, you’ll have to wait in line like all the other mortals, and still give enormous amount of effort to really earn what you want.
And even if you do wait and work your ass off to achieve something, you may still not get it. Why? Because there’s always someone better than you that deserved it more, or the world’s simply one giant bitch.

What you do then? Move on, and focus on achieving all other great things in life. You didn’t get what you wanted. Big deal. Get something else.

chyna's avatar

I find the older I get the more patience I have. This probably comes from living and learning that anger, rage or other feelings that overwhelm me at a particular time, such as being stuck in traffic, do not help the situation at all.

Zaku's avatar

I think I learned it largely from my parents and grandparents.

They were mostly very patient, so I had some good modelling. I had a grandmother who was almost impossible to annoy, at least as a grandchild.

My mom had me work out some tantrums alone in my room. That got me to see that tantrums tended to be destructive and not very productive and I found for myself something about observing my own state and its impact and choosing to calm down and not choosing the frantic state, and having that work. Tantrums aren’t exactly impatience, but it seems related to me in terms of the choice of calm I am now mindful of and that I use often for patience.

There were also times when I was a kid when I had an excess of energy and excitement and would make lots of noise and run around despite my parents telling me not to, and when they came to stop me either they told me to go cool off in the bathroom, or I fled into the bathroom, and I would cool off in there… which was also sort of about observing my own state (not much to do stuck in a small room with no stimulation) and chilling out.

Also I observed other kids being impatient and noticed how they were annoying to myself and others, and related that to my choice of how to be.

And one of the clearest models I had of patience was airline travel with just my dad and me. He was very relaxed about it, and modeled patience and mentioned his way of relating to it, which is that as long as you do some minimal stuff like show up, check in, and be on the plane, you’re going to get there about the same time, and you may as well relax. Not much actual gain getting ahead of others getting on or off – in fact the experience can be better if you chill and let everyone else get on and off first, and don’t worry about any of it and just find ways to enjoy the time you have nothing you really need to do – reading, puzzles, games, chat, watching people (including the silly people being anxious), etc.

As for car driving patience, being in a couple of accidents also showed me I’d much rather choose to be safe and let maniacs by than be one of the maniacs struggling to get an extra car-length ahead or go 3–6 mph faster.

Basically for me, patience is about watching my own state of being and its impact on me and others, noticing the choices I have and choosing to be calm and indulgent. I don’t always succeed, but some people have marveled at my patience in conversations, driving, etc. I don’t think of it so much as a capacity but as a choice.

Stinley's avatar

I do some teaching and someone once said that I was very patient as I didn’t mind explaining things over and over again. My take on that is that I may know exactly how to do this but they don’t, so why would I get impatient with them for not knowing something? I might have said that thing eleventy billion times but this is the first time they have heard it.

Rarebear's avatar

I learned it by picking a hobby that requires a lot of patience.

CWOTUS's avatar

Like a lot of other things in life, one can’t learn patience by, say, taking a course or attending a seminar. One has to sort of creep up on it quietly, even patiently and by absorption.

It’s also necessary to keep an empty bladder, because no one could be patient in a 20-minute traffic jam who had to “go” within the next ten minutes, “or else”.

I’m always reminded of the little ditty I learned while learning to fish (another good way to learn, if you have the time – and if you think you don’t have the time, then you will have already failed the first lesson):

Patience is a Virtue;
Possess it if you can.
‘Tis seldom found in Woman,
And never in a Man.

canidmajor's avatar

For me it’s about outcomes and motives. I easily lose patience with people who are chronically late, because I feel they lack respect for others. I have little patience for waiting for biopsy results, because so very much may ride on the outcome.
Traffic delays might annoy me, but we have excellent ways to communicate, so a delay is unlikely to cause someone else distress.
It took some pretty major life stuff to get me there, but now I can differentiate pretty well.

Brian1946's avatar

I’ve found that having sex in a car during a traffic jam really helps to pass the time. Also, the presence of a partner will allow you to use most carpool lanes.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^That was not what I expected.

Brian1946's avatar

I admit it’s not a readily available option.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I will plan my traffic jams better in the future.

Pandora's avatar

I learned patience years ago by just remembering that being impatient only hurts me. Things don’t move faster because you want them too, and if someone speeds something along because they feel rushed, they usually do a crappy job of it and you end up with something you didn’t want.
As for the other things, like the best job, or the best house. I found that way too often our expectations are way above it’s reality, so no point in getting upset over something that may not be all that you wanted and couldn’t wait for.
As for traffic. I have my favorite tunes on my phone and play them whenever I’m stuck in traffic.
Yes, we can all learn patience, but the irony is, it takes time for each of us to learn whats worth sweating over and what isn’t.
Being impatient just invites stress in your life. Stress is no one’s friend.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I will give you the perfect patience guide. Soon. Gotta go.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It is understandable how you feel. As a generally impatient person, I sometimes become overwhelmed by frustration of not being able to move forward. Here is what I have found to work:

- If working with someone else, communicate. This includes agreeing upon what needs to be accomplished and setting realistic deadlines. If an obstacle crops up, then it needs to be communicated to those involved. Should the need arise to follow-up with someone that missed an agreed upon due date, a reasonable grace period is given before getting in touch. After all, life has a tendency to get in the way.

- @Stinley brings up a great example. Anyone who has ever taught (and you have, both as a parent and a play director) then they hopefully learn to be patient with others. It nets better results.

- When it comes to traffic, I’ve learned to expect the worst and leave early.

-

flutherother's avatar

Patience requires understanding of a situation and a change of focus. It is a little like meditation.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

JLeslie's avatar

For me it depends on the thing. One thought process that helps me be patient is the golden rule. Another is remembering I’m imperfect, and I have done things myself that could easily cause someone to be impatient with me. I’m sure I have forgotten to call someone back when I should have, or there was an instance where I should have performed my job better, or when I accidentally cut someone off on the road. We all make mistakes without mal intentions.

The more you give others a break, the more you can give yourself a break, and vice versa. It can be very freeing.

Sometimes there is a real need for urgency, and being impatient is warranted. The inpatience drives us to act in those cases, and that can be a good thing.

Kardamom's avatar

Simply stopping and thinking about something before you do it, and having a mindset already in place before you do anything, whether it’s getting in a car and driving in traffic, going to the store and having to wait in line, or letting people speak, rather than cutting them off, even if you think they are boring. I count myself as someone who rarely gets bored. I like to read, listen to music, write out lists of things to do, look at stuff on my phone, take pictures, sketch, and talk to people.

Most of the stuff that I see people getting impatient with, are things that don’t matter in the long run.

If you are sitting in traffic, whether or not you knew there was going to be a traffic jam, it does not help you or anyone else to get angry about it. Getting angry about traffic is not going to help you avoid the traffic, but it might cause you to get into an accident. It might cause you to have a heart attack. It might cause you to be later than you would have, if you end up doing something stupid. I always see people speeding up and slamming on their brakes, repeatedly, then ending up no farther ahead than the guy next to them. I also see people speeding and weaving, and either ending up in an accident, or further behind in another lane, a mile up the road.

I always have a plan B. Having a plan B, and even a plan C and D can go along way to alleviate your potential aggravation. Plan A might be to leave your house an hour early. Plan B might be to listen to a classical CD while you’re stuck in traffic. Plan C might be to get off at the very next exit and wait out the traffic at Starbucks. Plan D might be to change your plans altogether and not venture out at that time/day and do that errand at a different time, or even send somebody else, or order online. Even if you have to go out into traffic at that specific time, getting angry and upset is not going to make you feel better or get there any sooner. If you go into a situation with that mindset, then you are always going to be better off than the guy who didn’t plan ahead with his thoughts or his actions.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’m not sure you can ‘learn’ patience. In my experience, my ability to be patient has come with age and life experience and with increased emotional maturity. I don’t recall trying to learn to become patient and yet I have become more patient.

I am incredibly patient with most students. However, I find how patient I am, depends upon the student’s behaviour. I teach an incredibly challenging course where every student is producing a unique piece of work. They struggle with this. Having so much autonomy can be quite distressing for some of them so it is essential I’m patient and really mentor them. 99% of the time I’m very, very patient, but I have found when students are resistant, pushy and demanding (and sometimes, although rarely, obnoxious), my patience is tested. This is something I’m still working on, but it’s a challenge.

In terms of achieving goals or obtaining things I might want, my ability to accept delayed gratification has extended as I’ve grown older and I have learned that some things are just worth waiting for and working hard for.

I think who you are dealing with also affects patience. While I might be patient with my students or colleagues, I’m less patient with my partner. Probably because I’m so close to him and employ less filtering on how we interact. I think sometimes I should apply my filter much more when I’m displaying impatience.

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