Six reasons why we struggle with patience

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Our tips on how to combat impatience 

Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. 

Faith WoodDear Conflict Coach:

Q: For the past several years, I have made a goal of being more patient. But, even with my best intentions, I don’t seem to be able to master this goal. Often, I fail within mere hours of stating my goal. Do you have any thoughts about the source of this conflict within myself?

A: Every day, we fight to maintain a sense of calm as the world around us pushes our patience buttons. We may have heard that patience is a virtue, but why is it so hard to be patient? What factors influence our ability to let go of our frustrations and let things roll off our backs?

Our fast-paced society has us frustrated over small things. Even though we know we need to learn how to be patient, we all still struggle, and here’s why:

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  1. Our habits are disrupted. Habits offer comfort. They give us a sense of calm in a chaotic world. We become impatient when something comes along and disrupts our typically scheduled patterns.
  2. Things are important, but time is running out. You have an important meeting. While you left with plenty of time to get there, delays occurred. You may have a flat tire, or there is an accident on the highway. As the clock hands move closer to the appointment time, your patience grows thinner and thinner.
  3. Other people succeed, and we don’t. The comparison trap can cause much upheaval in your life. Seeing others succeed in pursuing their goals while you are stuck in a rut is bound to cause jealousy and some impatience on your part.
  4. We feel overwhelmed. Having too much to do leaves many of us feeling overwhelmed. So, we move from task to task, working fast and efficiently until someone comes along and tips the apple cart. Now things are stalled, and patience is lost.
  5. We don’t see results as fast as we think we should. Let’s say you want to lose weight. You research methods and choose to eat healthier and exercise. You start out great and drop seven pounds in your first month. Then you lose two; then none for several weeks. When progress stalls, it is easy to grow impatient.
  6. We are tired and hungry. Anytime you are tired, you are likely to lose your patience with others fast. Being hungry has the same effect.

Recognizing why we become impatient is the first step in pursuing a happier life filled with patience. Consider which of these reasons is the most significant factor for you, and then learn how to combat impatience.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

For interview requests, click here.

The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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