A Patient Perspective

Chapel

Chapel

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- This New Year I've decided that my resolution will be to work on my patience. I hate to admit it but I think God agrees. After all, he never ceases to offer me so many opportunities to improve it, like supermarket checkout lines, doctor's offices, and of course, L.A. traffic--I recently read a statistic that says every year a typical motorist spends nearly one full week just waiting (not driving) in the car!

My life is filled with lots of opportunities that help perfect my patience. How about yours? This proverb may also help: A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. The gist of that adage says that if you want to increase your patience, you must first increase your knowledge. For me, a great way to increase my understanding is by broadening my perspective.

Here's a good exercise: imagine you are in a tremendously-long supermarket checkout line. You're in a real big hurry--places to go, things to do, now, you're late! Can you feel your blood pressure rising? Losing some patience? Okay, now let's look at things from a slightly different perspective. Imagine YOU are the checkout clerk! Picture yourself in your store uniform. You're working feverishly, scanning all those groceries, it's been hours since your last break, you've had to listen to that incessant beep..beep..beep over and over again, and there seems to be no end in sight. So, now how do you feel, better or worse? If you try this trick the next time you're in a real-life checkout line, you might just start to think, "Gee, I'm sure glad I'm me right now and not that poor checkout clerk." Who knows, with that slight change of perspective, a little patience may just magically appear!

Of course, this technique helps in all kind of situations that tax one's patience. Do you find yourself becoming impatient with others at work? Change your perspective. Make an effort to look at your job from your co-workers' or your boss' point of view. Losing patience with your kids? Try looking at things from their side. Sure, you may not always agree with the other point of view (I hear parents don't always agree with their teenagers), but whether you agree or disagree, when you step in another's shoes, you begin to see where that person is coming from. When that happens, you start to see why he or she says or does certain things. Your picture gets a little bigger; that bigger picture leads to greater understanding, and presto! Your understanding leads to a little more patience. Don't believe me? Go ahead, try it...test your patience. Good luck and God bless you and all your noble endeavors this New Year.