How Can I Become More Patient?

Is there anyone on this planet that wouldn't benefit from an additional dose of patience?

iuri melo
iuri melo

My awesome friends, I'm so grateful for your questions and suggestions. I'm humbled when you ask questions such as "How can I become more patient?" Nurturing this great skill, as always, requires a correct perspective and mindset that will become the foundation for such a skill and behavior. I've found that when we undertake a serious and honest inventory of our lives, we end up discovering our mortality, fragility, and serious propensity for stupidity. If there is an adversary in this world, then we are easy prey. I mean, we don't have to look far in the world to uncover how quick and deep mankind can go in creating and spreading pain, misery, deceit, and discord. Now, don't get excited, that's just my pessimism talking. I'm really a full blown optimist and an idealist. I believe in people's ability to change, shift, move, and improve, almost immediately. I've seen it! Sometimes change can happen in an instant. It can be sparked by a moment of brilliance, clarity, or sometimes great pain and suffering. A mighty change of heart can begin in a jail cell, in a church, surrounded by criminals or saints, in a therapist's office, or in a dark alley.

People are always asking me, "Iuri, don't you get tired of listening to people's problems?" my honest answer is, "no." I mean, there is a burden associated with being a receiver of people's dashed dreams, miseries, and fallacies, but that's not what therapy is about. I don't sit and listen to people's problems, I join my client's in engaging their problems in a very hopeful, loving, and committed way, and let me tell you, it is exciting and invigorating! The moment someone tells me what they really want, we are off, the journey begins, and from that point, all successes, all failures, all near misses, or small steps, become part of the process to evolve, grow, and ultimately overcome. This is the same psychology that I want you to bring to your personal life, and to your relationships.

Sometimes at the beginning of that process or somewhere in between, we get stuck, or as is often the case, we trip ourselves up. One of our tripping points is our focus and obsession with timelines. We focus too much on when, and how fast! Look, I get it, I want results too, and I want them fast (preferably), but a mighty change of heart, is mighty hard work, and sometimes it requires a lifetime of increased awareness and insight, and deliberate and focused attention. In all sincerity, I'm much more concerned with someone's vector, and not their velocity, and the quicker you begin to view your progress and effort in that way, the more likely you are to reach the destination you seek. When mistakes happen; when we miss the mark, the enlightened individual assesses, re-aims, and goes again. We don't keep score of our mistakes (or other people's), we don't project our errors into the future, and we don't identify with our mistakes (or identify others by their mistakes).

Use time wisely, which in this case means to disconnect from time, and become fully accepting that the time of departure and the time of arrival are less important than the process that is happening in between. That's where our focus and energy needs to go!

I recall so many therapy sessions where individuals come to me mired in addictions, stuck in trauma, angry, bitter, grieving. My heart just swells with compassion and my mind begins to bubble with excitement when I hear these individuals desire to become free, or at least more deliberate with their behavior. I literally stand up and clap and applaud them for just being willing to face in a more productive direction. This is a wonderful place to begin. They are considering change. They can recognize their place and how their attitude, behaviors, and circumstances are causing pain and harm. As they begin to move forward, often times their progress is riddled with potholes and mistakes. My job is to keep them turning and facing toward that direction that they have communicated, even after they betray their best senses, their principles, beliefs, and others? Listen, don't compare your progress to others in a deprecating and demeaning way, but instead, see the progress of others as a motivation for you to move forward also. When mistakes happen, turnabout and face the direction your highest self desires to go, and begin again. You don't have to go back to the beginning, start from right there, and move forward. There's an old quote I tell myself all the time "Begin where you are. Use what you have, and do what you can." Don't let your superficial obsession and the tyrannical rule of "I want it NOW", detract and derail you from the deeper and more important process that must happen over time. Remember that we often progress slow by slow, here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept.

Now I understand that we live in a world that utilizes time. Use time when necessary, though when it comes to our own spiritual, emotional, and psychological health… When it comes to our relationships and our personal progress, most things are not a matter of arrival, but a matter of continuing, adjusting, and aiming more accurately. Sometimes the people in our lives will question us, "Hasn't it been long enough… I mean it's been 3 months… or 6 months… or an hour!" When that happens, just smile, and express gratitude for their concern. Sometimes serious pain and consequences will demand that change happen immediately, especially if we are abusing ourselves or others, but as a rule, look at your growth, and the growth of others from the perspective that we are all works in process. We are a great block of granite, that life, experience, and wisdom are slowly carving their way through, with a hopeful ‘Statue of David' lurking within, obscured by our rough and rugged edges. So as we tumble down that mountain of life… a great rough stone rolling, lopsided, with pointy edges and weaknesses. If we keep our wits about us. If our mind and heart are open and humble, instead of closed and proud, we will find ourselves a softer, cleaner, and more efficient tool not just for our success, but also better for others. See yourself and others as part of this process. Their wins and losses matter, and are all part of the process. So when you find yourself obsessed with the growth that you believe you are meant to experience, settle in, focus on your effort, focus in on your circle of control, and as you act in patience, may you possess your soul. So go and assess, re-aim, and go again, and again, and again, and again. See you next week.