I know some really patient people. I have a hard time understanding their kind. You beautiful, foreign creatures. You fascinate me with your superpowers.
Just about anything can and will annoy me. I am impatient, easily irritated and the littlest things can send me into a frenzy. (Don’t I sound lovely?)
I don’t like the way “thought” is spelled.
This tag is itching me.
This person is driving 3 miles under the speed limit.
Rage and fury.
It doesn’t take much to make me lose my patience and become annoyed. (By the grace of God alone (okay and obscene amounts of coffee), I thrive as an elementary school teacher).
If I am not intentional about my reactions, annoyance and impatience would suck the joy out of my life. It is one of those nagging little emotions that can be triggered by the smallest thing, yet snowball into a huge release of emotions. (Road rage, anyone?)
I love people. However, one of the least favorite lessons I have learned in my life is that I am unable to control them, therefore, believe it or not, on occasion, people annoy me.
If I allowed everything that could potentially drive me nuts to actually drive me nuts, I would waste my life irritated and in a state of constant annoyance. I wish being patient and understanding came naturally to me, but it doesn’t so instead I intentionally have worked on being patient, especially with other people.
Here are some of those ways:
1. Benefit of the Doubt
Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is a game-changer when it comes to dealing with people. I used to always think the worst in situations- my coffee tastes weird so Jill at Starbucks must have not even put an ounce of effort into it.
She probably just dumped in the ingredients without even looking. She probably saw me and wanted to make my day horrible by ruining my coffee.
Naturally, I tend to jump to worst-case scenarios, but when you give someone the benefit of the doubt, suddenly the situation doesn’t seem so bad. If my coffee was totally gross and I paid $4.00 for it, I am going to bring it back to Jill, but the difference would be my attitude.
If I taste my coffee and it’s gross, instead of assuming Jill hates me and wants me to die a slow, caffeinated death of misery, I can choose to think she really tried to make this a good cup of coffee, but something must have been wrong with the machine. Someone forgot to clean out the espresso pull, and that’s why grounds are in my drink.
Who cares if it’s true.
2. Think of what COULD be happening behind the story
Something I have done lately to take the edge off impatience is create stories for why people are behaving the way they are. Maybe this is childish, or naive, but I have found this takes the judgmental edge off me very quickly.
For example, I was grocery shopping awhile and an elderly man was taking forever looking at the bananas.
I mean, FOREVER. I treat grocery shopping like an olympic event timed for speed, so I cannot be bothered with this type of disturbance.
As I watched him move slowly towards the bananas, I felt myself begin to get annoyed.
But then I thought…
What if his wife recently passed away and this is the first time he has had to grocery shop by himself. What could he be feeling right now? Imagine what he is going through.
People have stories that we will never know. Maybe the person that cut you off just got horrible news about a family member in the hospital. There could be an emergency creating a situation where you are on hold for 35 minutes.
People still do annoying things without good reasons. But isn’t it worth it to feel empathy for other humans just in case? We never know what people are going through.
3. Remember all the annoying things you do
I refuse to shut the lids on things all the way. I think it’s pointless. I just set the lid of the peanut butter on it and don’t screw it tightly. It still closes and keeps it fresh, but limits the work I have to do next time I grab the jar.
Believe it or not, some people find it annoying when they pick up a jar by its lid (which they shouldn’t do anyways) and it falls to the ground open.
My roommate has to hear me baby talk my nephew via FaceTime every night at 8:30 while he plays in the bathtub.
I shake my legs so violently while watching movies, that the entire couch trembles and all my friends feel like they are in an earthquake simulator.
I am an annoying human being and I want people to extend grace to me. Therefore let’s extend grace to others by showing them patience and love.
4. Keep it in perspective
In the scheme of things, is this worth it? Your show got recorded over. Will this really matter in a month? If you got a phone call that changed your life tomorrow, that totally rocked your world, would your mind even come close to being upset about the button that fell off your favorite sweater when your sister was wearing it? Is not making this green light worth this level of anger?
Putting things in perspective is the quickest way to come back down from the high horse of annoyance. What really matters? Focus on that.
5. Take care of yourself physically and spiritually
When I am rested, well-fed and have spent time with the Lord, I am SO much more likely to overflow grace and patience.
When I let the Lord fill me up with HIS grace and love, only then can I extend supernatural amounts of grace and love to other people. Even the difficult ones.
When I am starved spiritually, I find it impossible to be the person Jesus calls me to be. We are sinful and naturally selfish, so my first instincts are to become angry and impatient.
It will be awhile before I consider myself a patient person, however with these tips, I am at least able to fake it until it comes naturally (or supernaturally) 😉
Blessings not chins,