Tag Archives: Patience

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that we possess…

I have been thinking about happiness a lot recently, especially this past week.  Everywhere I have looked there have been articles and posters about how gratitude is the successful attitude, about how happiness is essential for stress free living, all sorts of things like that.  And today, on my Flipboard App on my phone, there was an amazing article about the 5 skills you need to increase your happiness.  Okay, thought I, I am giving in to the signals I am being sent.  Here is a blog post all about happiness and getting more of it.

happiness 2

So, according to this article that I read this morning, the first skill you need in order to increase your grin quotient is the ability to savour things.  If you savour a meal, you take your time over it, you enjoy the flavours, the textures, the time and energy which it has taken to prepare and cook the food.   You linger, you prolong the experience and you intensify your enjoyment of the moment, making it last for as long as possible.   You should do the same in your everyday life.  You can savour the past, by reminiscing.  You can savour the future with positive anticipation of what might happen.  You can also savour the present moment – by using that often trotted out modern phrase, mindfulness.  Apparently, savouring life boosts optimism, reduces stress and gets rid of a whole lot of negative emotions, making you happier, more optimistic and more satisfied with life.   And the more you recognise the good stuff, the more good stuff you see.

thank you

The second skill which is required to increase happiness is to say thank you.  This is the attitude of gratitude writ large. If you can identify and appreciate the things people do for you, and the things themselves, and then say thank you… well, the result is sheer magic.  Not only does it increase your optimism and self confidence, but it has also been shown to dampen your desire for more “stuff” all the time (well, why do you need the newest and latest gadget when you are really thankful for the one you have in front of you?  Makes sense to me!).  Of course being sincerely thankful for the people in your life as well means that you can have a deeper relationship with them.  That is always worth it.  According to research, it can also give you longer and better quality sleep.  I am soooo up for some of that!!

goal quote

The third skill we need is to aspire.  This is a bit trickier – but basically it boils down to having a reason for being, a sense of purpose and to be hopeful.  It enable you to be optimistic about the future.  People who have created meaning in their lives are generally happier and more satisfied.  If you have ever experienced genuine (and not forced and false) optimism, you will know that you are drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  It is a magnet almost.  When you have that sense of purpose and a goal to aim towards, it makes goals seem attainable and challenges are easier to overcome.  You will feel more successful, and you will be more successful!  Also, if you use the skills you have in every day life, all the time, you will increase your self esteem, curb stress and increase your vitality.  So, if you have a skill, show it off!  And smile about it!

giving

The fourth thing to do to increase you happiness, and arguably, it is the one which ought to come first in this list, is giving.  Of course the person you are giving to will reap a reward, but did you know that the giver gets one too?  This is one of the reasons that every major faith has an aspect of charity to it.  Habitual givers have less stress, less isolation and less anger.  When you see what your gift can do for someone else, that makes you happier, more connected to the world and more open to new experiences.

compassion

Finally, happiness can be increased with the use of empathy.  Empathy is the ability to care about others.  If you can imagine and understand the thoughts, behaviours or ideas of other people, then congratulations, you are empathetic.  It is easier for some people than it is for others, but the good news is that compassion can be taught.  Empathy means that you will feel less judgemental, less frustrated, less angry and less disappointed about people.  Apparently it helps you to develop patience (Umm… I am very empathetic… I am just extremely impatient as well!).  Empathy also helps to solidify bonds between human beings, which is essential to the building and maintaining happy and healthy relationships.  This compassion needn’t just be for others though.  You need to be compassionate to yourself as well – the old “cut yourself some slack” argument.

I am definitely going to take up these five practices to increase the happiness in my life.  I could do with the extra boost, and especially if there is an upswing in the amount of patience that I might have.  To finish, I want to leave you with a quote from Terry Prince which I found on my Facebook timeline this morning…

“Your life is your Garden,

Your thoughts are the seeds,

If your life isn’t awesome,

You’ve been watering the weeds”

Here’s to happiness folks!

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How waiting might be good for you… and how to survive it.

Fundamentally, I am a very impatient person.  I do not like to wait for things, and I have an extremely low tolerance for long queues, disorganisation and bad service.  In fact, it has been muttered by those close to me, that I have no tolerance for those things at all.  Unfortunately, my life had abounded in opportunities for me to learn how to be patient and how to wait.  Despite the extensive practice I have had, I am not doing very well at mastering the skill.

impatience

Yes, I do think that waiting calmly is a skill that needs to be developed.  I have a theory (and it is only a theory) that patience is not a virtue… it’s genetic, and that particular gene skipped me over entirely.  It would certainly explain a lot!

I am not saying that I can’t wait.  I can.  I have to.  I am not so petulant as to believe that everything I desire needs to be delivered to me right now.  (Well, okay, I sometimes think that, but I know that real life doesn’t work that way, and sometimes you have to suck it up and just go with it).  The thing that I can’t do is to wait patiently, to wait with grace, and to believe that it will happen (whatever it is) when the time is right.  I really, really struggle with this.

waiting

Luckily, I have a faith.  I really do not know how I would cope without one.  If I can tell myself that what I am hoping for will happen in God’s time, then I find it helps me to control the impatience I feel.  I still get annoyed that I HAVE to wait, but at least, I have the belief that it will happen when God decides it is the right time.  I am thinking particularly here of the “being a Mother” thing which seems to preoccupy the majority of my thoughts at the moment.  I have waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I have moved things along, I have endeavoured to be proactive, we have enquired after children all without success.  On the bad days I begin to wonder if it is all worth it, and I am close to packing it all in and giving up.  On the good days I remind myself that God will provide, if it is the right course of action in the first place, when the right child is available for us.  I will admit that just at the moment, the bad days are outweighing the good ones.

patience prayer

Now, reading around this topic, most of the the good stuff associated with waiting is about delayed gratification.  Certainly, when/if the time comes and I have a small person calling me “Mummy”, I will have the delight of hearing that.  I am also looking forward to all the problems and issues that come with being a parent.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I look forward to them, because it will be proof that I have become a parent, which is my dearly held wish.  Waiting and wanting for so long certainly puts a different perspective on everything.  I think the fact I have HAD to be patient, will mean that I will be profoundly grateful for whatever hits my plate. The good, the bad, the profoundly busy, the obstacles, every last bit of it.  It strikes me that those who never have to wait for anything at all; perhaps they do not actually appreciate what they have?

patient

As for surviving the waiting –  I don’t really know.  Sometimes it feels like I have managed it (usually by keeping myself so busy I haven’t got the time to turn around, or by counting my existing blessings and being fervently grateful for them).  But there are also times when I feel so far from coping it is frightening.  I suspect this is common for everyone.  I read that meditating and trying to attain peace is a good way of keeping things together as well, although very difficult to do.

If you are waiting for something, then join the club.  How do you get through it?  Any suggestions, gratefully received!

If patience is a virtue, why is it so HARD?

I often joke with friends and family that Patience is not a virtue I am gifted with.  To be honest, most people who meet me would agree with this within a couple of minutes of meeting me I suspect.  As I type this blog, I am sitting at the dining table with papers to do with the sale of our house littered EVERYWHERE and a vein popping suspiciously in my forehead.  I am feeling deeply impatient with the whole process and filling in lots and lots of forms.  I have to ask questions of my husband because I don’t know the answers and therefore we need to have some time to do this, and we don’t have that time today.   Argh.

impatient 2

So I thought, is it possible to cultivate patience?  And if so, how on earth do you go about it?  I don’t want to keep feeling like I am going to blow a gasket.    According to my Internet research, cultivating patience will result in relaxation, peace of mind and a marked increase in the quality of our life.  Okay.  I am up for that.

 

First step apparently is to try and figure out why you are in such a hurry.  It might be that you are stretching yourself too thin, or trying to do too many things at once, or taking too much on yourself.  Erm.  Yes.  All of the above.  And can we add in, setting myself very high standards and silly targets and expecting that everyone else will have the same ones?

 

Then you need to pinpoint the triggers that influence you to lose your patience.  It could be events, people, phrases, circumstances but all of them will cause anxiety, tension and frustration.  Apparently, most triggers are based in a reality which we find hard to accept, whatever that might be.  For me, the thing that gets me really annoyed (and hopping up and down) is when I have something I want to complete NOW and I am waiting on information from someone else.  Drives me absolutely crackers.   It is out of my control you see, and I am a founder member of “Control Freaks R Us”.

impatience

Then you need to look for patterns.  In the seeking for patterns, you will apparently become more aware of your impatience.  It might offer an opportunity to learn from it and perhaps uncover a relationship or a circumstance that is not healthy or constructive.  I think I might have established that my perfectionism and control freakery is the bit that is not healthy or constructive for me.  Apparently, it can help to keep a journal and observe the impatience objectively, but I think that might annoy me even more.  Besides, I don’t have time to write it all down.  I would be there all day!

 

When you are thinking that your patience is going to run dry, then apparently all you have to do is take some deep breaths.  Clear your mind.  Put a smile on your face.  Deep breathe again and feel yourself relaxing.  Then, according to my research, you should Let it go.  If you can do anything to resolve the source of the impatience, then we just move on.  Come back to the issues when the circumstances are different or better.    That is soooo hard though.  I tend to worry at the things which make me cross and impatient thereby driving myself in circles and ever so slightly crazy.

impatient quotes

Other hints and tips I picked up over my research was that it is good to remind yourself of the big picture, and that almost everything good takes time and dedication.  Focus on the things which actually matter in life (and paperwork is definitely not one of them) like kindness, generosity and forgiveness.  A positive outlook is also essential, along with a realisation that life is not a race but a journey to be savoured.  If you expect the unexpected, and cut yourself some slack it will work out in the end.

 

I still think I might have to practice this a lot more before I become good at it.