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Patience Lost and Found Again

In the movie “Bad Boys 2”, actors Joe Pantoliano and Martin Lawrence center themselves by chanting “Woosa” when frustrated. Lately, I’ve found myself needing to do something similar because I’ve been losing patience quicker, and often over small things. People are getting on my last nerve!  Driving home from work the other day, a car changed lanes and pulled in front of me, and slowed down, even though there was no one in our lane for miles. Earlier that day, two other drivers ran stop signs and nearly caused an accident.  What is wrong with people – it seems like everyone (except me ?) has lost their minds. They say patience is a virtue, but lately, it seems more like a challenge.

Taken individually, those events are minor nuisances; the problem is they build up over time. Each new annoyance taps into our reservoir of patience until it is depleted, and eventually we explode. Unfortunately, it’s usually taken out on the next person we feel doesn’t use common sense, makes things more difficult than necessary, gets in our way, or even sends a text at the wrong time, because by then we’ve had it. Nothing good ever comes from losing your cool.  Ever!

On the days that my patience runs low, I have to work harder to control how I react to all the things that get on my nerves. I’m not going to lie – it’s a challenge.  Instead of exploding, I try to look for other ways to burn off negative energy.  This can include taking deep breaths, a short trip (one of my passions), or maybe even a couple of “woosa’s” after the conversation.  Try it – a “woosa” requires a deep breath, quickly expelled.  It really works!  Sometimes I fail, and when I do, I apologize for losing my patience (this is important) and start over again.

The truth is in today’s world patience is lost as a virtue. We live in a world of instant gratification.  We want what we want, we want it now, and when we don’t get it its becoming socially acceptable to be outwardly annoyed.  In our personal interactions this is never appropriate. Everyone is human, regardless of if they are a barista at Starbucks or your mother.  Even the annoying people who cut you off are not really deserving of your negativity. We all deserve a little patience.

A friend of mine often comments that sometimes my questions and actions can be frustrating but when she steps back and is patient with me I usually surprise her by exceeding her expectations in our friendship. Maybe that’s the answer. Next time you are losing patience, take a deep breath and step back. Let the small stuff pass and see how things unfold.

“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is concentrated strength.” – Bruce Lee

What steps will you take to be more patient this weekend?

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