~ Henri J.M. Nouwen
Patience mustn't be confused with avoidance or compliance. If you're having 'patience' with paying overdue bills or getting a healthcare emergency diagnosed, it's probably not great to idly wait for more to be revealed before taking necessary action. When we talk about patience in the context of relational skills, we're talking about non-reactivity or emotional sobriety. Does impatience ever make anything better? To respond to a stressful situation with stress creates more stress. With a hostile dog, to respond in any way except with patience only serves to further agitate the animal. This is the secret reason why patience is such a virtue, also why it's so vital for love and sex, because patience actually soothes the nervous system. You take deeper breaths, the brain gets more oxygen, there's a host of beneficial physiological effects.
Obsessive-compulsive traits can be defined as obsessive -- needing to do something all the time, and compulsive -- needing to do it right now. Anything we seek is usually worth waiting for, will still be there, and if it can't wait maybe it's not right for us or meant to be. The surest emotional recovery is not situational but developmental. To strengthen the inner quality of patience, rather than always wondering whether any specific situation is right for us, we develop our capacity in any situation to be in right relationship to life.
DAILY HEALTHY ACTS
- Practice pausing today. Count 1, 2, 3 before taking any action, whether stepping into the shower, exiting the front door, or starting the car ignition.
- Take a media fast today. Turn off all social media for the day. Leave your phone in your pocket and notice the world around you. What do you see? Wait a while... Now what do you really see?
CHS - Los Angeles
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