becoming more patient | #2 wisdom over reaction

Are you a reactor?

Maybe it’s better if we talk about someone else … do you know people who are reactors? Those with a short fuse. Easily frustrated. Quick to snap and lash out verbally or demonstrate aggressively.

In the quest to become more patient, we have to acknowledge that impatience is about reactivity. It’s having a low tolerance while waiting for things to happen as we are hoping or anticipating, or in the time frame we’d prefer, and dealing with the shortfall inappropriately.

In the previous post becoming more patient | #1 a big picture perspective  we noted that waiting isn’t patience, how you wait is. Patience is about our capacity to not become annoyed or anxious while we wait or experience problems.

Much of that annoyance or anxiety can be kerbed when we move more in wisdom than reaction.

Wisdom tells us that the trip to work is always a little busier at school times and so we should allow ourselves a few extra minutes – rather than getting frustrated by the crazy school drop off parents (and aren’t they crazy?!) that slow down our trip.

Wisdom tells us that kids need advanced notice to wind up an activity, prepare for departure or make a transition between tasks. Rather than calling ‘we’re leaving now!’ and then rapidly growing frustrated as the time tension gets greater.

Wisdom tells us that when we are tired, hormonal or under pressure we are less emotionally sober – perhaps now is not the time for that d&m or to process a significant decision.

Wisdom tells us that our sister/uncle/cousin/sibling/friend is going to do/say/be what they always do/say/be and to make a preemptive decision about how we will respond or short circuit it. Rather than being inflamed (…again!)

Wisdom sees us know our own limitations and triggers and grow in our understanding of others’. Wisdom helps us avoid circumstances that will fuel frustration or anxiety. Wisdom plans ahead for the times that are predictably tense and makes rational decisions about the attitude and posture we’ll carry.

Wisdom also reminds us to be more tolerant of others because of how others are tolerant of us. It recalls for us the times when people allowed us to fail and try again. When people were gentle with us as we developed new or better skills, understanding and competency. When people waited for us because we forgot something or were running late. When other’s repeated something we hadn’t heard or re-explained something we hadn’t understood.  Wisdom reminds us that we’re all in need of the patience of others at different times.

What wisdom have you developed that has kerbed your impatience? What circumstances would you be able to predict a tension that would require patience in order to prepare rather than react?

Read more

Part 1 – a big picture perspective

Part 3 – being others focussed

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