Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cultivating Patience

Patience. noun
1.the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2.an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3.quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence:to work with patience.

Tonight I find myself thinking about patience. In our busy lives, we may easily overlook the value of patience in our quest for accomplishment, efficiency and fulfillment. Patience under insult means not succumbing to anger, aggression or despair when threatened. Instead, it means being mindful of our reactions and emotional responses, and perhaps finding wiser ways to respond. Pausing, even for a moment, before reacting to a difficult situation is a powerful form of patience. Sometimes people find patience by changing their point of reference for understanding a challenging situation. (adapted from a talk by Gil Fronsdal, July 1st, 2003) How do you cultivate patience? 

1 comment:

  1. Last week, while trying to "dodge" a mean remark targeted for my heart, I chose to just say absolutely nothing. After discussing the situation with my doctor I got some valuable advice. Rather than negating the intension of the remark which was clearly meant to hurt, I now have the language to come back at some time, redefining the comment by just saying, " What you said got STUCK IN MY HEAD, what did you want me to understand regarding (the subject)?" Rather than give the person the power to hurt, switch it to the head for information, eliciting possible clarity. Hope this doesn't sound cryptic. When to just breathe, step back, think, and when to say, "Please stop, that upsets me." In learning ABA intervention along with my grandson, we've been taught ways to help him rephrase angry, hurtful, often inappropriate comments. Last week I could feel his "teapot of emotions boiling, ready to let off steam, with a whistle blowing of expletives." The cousin he was finally interacting with on friendly terms, would have run away from him, creating one of those stick in your mind negative memories for both of them. (A repeat of past experiences.) When I gently gave him the prompt "Just say... may I have that when your finished?" He looked at me (now I was the target) and shouted, "Bubbie, stop correcting me!" Way to go little guy, you are so right! I simply answered, "Oh now I understand. You can handle this yourself." I got up and left the room; it was like taking the teapot off the stove before the whistle blew. By simply reflecting his frustration to me, I was able to intervene in what could have been a huge meltdown. However, who can really predict, maybe had I not been there playing with them, he might have figured it out on his own. In my quest for helping him navigate social communication, I too must stand back and incorporate patience for myself in this journey. From a child, we can learn.