Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Voice of Patience

This is a post by Leo Babauta at ZenHabits. He did a beautiful job of describing how to bring more patience, gratitude, and compassion into life. It just too good not to share.

I've been at this for a while, practicing patience. Over time, it's helped me find more joyand peacein all of my regular old days. Life is just too short not to.

The first step that Leo describes—learning to notice the feelings when they first come up—is the hard part. He gives it just one line, but it's really the key to the whole thing.

Keep at it, though, and the rest will come more easily. Before you know it, you'll be able to breathe and smile when someone cuts in front of you in line at the grocery store.

Or when your 5-year-old rubs his jelly-covered face on your pants as you're trying to get out the door for work. Really.

Now for Leo's post...

There are moments when other people just set you off, and you lose your patience.

It is the downfall of many of us — coworkers, children, spouses, other drivers, irritating people on the subway — they can grate, they can anger.

And it can ruin your day. You clench your jaw, you replay imaginary arguments in your head, or worse, you snap. And then you feel like crap.

How can we find the patience?

I will admit that I’m no saint. Just like everyone else, I get annoyed, and I will say things in a less-than-kind tone. I’m learning.

Here’s what helps me:

First, I learn to be aware of the emotions that rush up from nowhere.

I learn to accept those emotions as perfectly fine.

And I watch them, but don’t act.

I will talk to those emotions, like they’re a little child: it’s OK to be mad, but breathe. Talk to the other person, after you’ve calmed down, about the problem.

And then I breathe.

I remind my childlike emotions: other people are different, and that’s good. Celebrate humanity and all its glorious varieties. When people live and work together, there will be friction, and that is a part of the mix of humanity.

I remind: life is too short to waste my days in irritation and anger. Don’t let other people’s problems become my own.

I then give thanks. Gratitude solves all problems. I am grateful for having this friend, or stranger, in my life, and I’m grateful for the chance to even be here, and for the incredible life I have.

I talk to the other person, when I’ve calmed down, with compassion. I respond with love. It often will melt the other person’s jagged edges, and things will go better.

Patience isn’t an easy thing, but the alternative is much worse. Love will triumph if you let it.

Thanks, Leo, for doing what you do and for making easy for the rest of us to share your work.

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