In my last entry, I discussed needing to change what we feed the mind on a regular basis–mind malnutrition or stuff that makes us mentally unhealthy. Besides reading a good book to improve one’s mental diet and overall development as a person, there are a few mental nutrients that we can’t do without to grow properly. Like vitamins, they are essential nutrients. Without them, we just don’t get the most out of what we desire. Patience is one of those “vitamins”.
Jeff Olson, in The Slight Edge, talks about the power of patience and how it’s often a challenge for people who do not understand the Slight Edge principle. Patience is the insight to make small consistent steps to reach our goal. We know what our goal is and are willing to have faith that we can attain it. (That’s another vitamin we’ll talk about later.) When we have a goal but don’t see immediate results, we must exercise patience, take a moment to relax and look at the bigger picture. It’s a journey. There will be ups and downs, but the general path is forward. Setbacks are part of the process. One of my mentors cautions that whenever you set a goal, obstacles seem to pop up out of nowhere. The bigger the goal, the more distracting the obstacles, as if the universe is testing your resolve and sincerity. Too many people let that be enough to turn them away. So, take a deep breath, be aware of any tension in your body, any negative or fearful thoughts about what you desire. Let them go as you exhale. A powerful affirmation I have used during this exercise, while focusing on my breath, relaxing, repeating with each inhale and exhale cycle: “I inhale love. I exhale fear.” Slowly and gently. Remember, just by deciding to have a goal, obstacles are now to be expected and will be part of the journey. What can you learn from them?
Lastly, find some areas in your life where you can practice more patience. For example, if waiting brings impatience, use the time to go to a higher perspective. Will it really make a significant impact on your life if you are delayed, or is it really just a minor inconvenience? Will it really matter tomorrow? What can you learn about yourself as you relax or use the breathing exercise? The key is understanding that you are not just what you are feeling at that moment. You can reset you attitude and feelings to the best self you can be despite the situation. Start becoming aware of small changes in your feelings, such as anger and fear, as they signal impatience, like free radicals toxic to the mind’s nutritional wellbeing.
Be more mindful of the little positives in your life, moments of gratitude, joy, humor. They will build patience if you amplify and savor them when they happen. Then, you can more easily recall and amplify them to replace frustration.