Thanks to my last blog where I shamelessly begged for inspiration, I have something specific to write about today: patience. JulieAnn requested a post on it, and it also happens to be one of the fruits of the spirit, as per Janna's suggestion. Perhaps I'll start doing the fruits of the spirit every Tuesday...Fruit-Filled Tuesdays? Tuesday's Spirits? Hmm...that one just sounds like I'll talk about beer, and I don't think that would be wise, since I don't know very much about beer. Patience, on the other hand...well I don't know much about that either, but we'll give it a shot. And as far as titles go, I don't think I'm one of those cute blogs that can pull of a specially titled day, so we'll forget that, too.
If you asked my husband or my parents, they would tell you I am one of the most patient people they know; then they would happily accept the money I paid them to lie about me. Since I can't afford to bribe anyone, you probably shouldn't ask them. To put it mildly, patience is not one of my strong points (neither is honesty, apparently). Part of the reason JulieAnn's suggestion intrigued me is because it is something I'm working on. I'm certainly not an expert, but I'll share with you my little tricks at trying to master this ever-elusive trait. Since I could go on and on about patience and probably write a book on how impatient I am, I decided to split this blog into two. Today I'll write about how to be patient with people, and tomorrow I'll write about how to be patient when we're in a waiting period of our lives.
My impatience often shows it's ugly head when I'm driving, so I've started trying to practice patience on the road. Please forgive me if these suggestions are just plain obvious. I tend to be a pretty basic person who is completely fascinated by simple concepts and ideas, so for me these have been utterly helpful, though I do realize they are probably something all of you smart people already do. First, I try to leave early enough so that I'm not running late and yelling at the car in front of me for driving too slow. When I'm not in a hurry, I'm more patient. (Who would have thought?!) I also found that if I make it a point to let people in front of me - the car trying to merge, the car with the blinker on hoping to change lanes, the car trying to pull out of the driveway but can't because there is too much traffic - it actually makes me feel better. It's that weird thing that happens when we put others first and we're actually the ones who benefit because we've done something kind. Hmm...maybe nice people are happier than bitter, selfish people? I need to remember that...
My job has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about dealing with frustrating and annoying people, which I'm grateful for. I think my patience with people has grown a lot since working at Starbucks, and I've learned a thing or two about how to think about others in a way that enables me to be kind and not so easily annoyed. I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, so when someone complains about a drink or tells me I've done something wrong, I'm annoyed. So what I've started doing is pretending that that person is my mother, or my friend, or my grandmother, and that they really don't want to be complaining, they just really want what they ordered. My mom has ordered a white hot chocolate from Starbucks numerous times, and somehow the barista always makes her a white mocha, which has espresso in it. My poor mom literally can't stand the taste of coffee (I know, I don't get it either), so if they put espresso in her white hot chocolate it's a waste of $3 for her because she can't drink it. Now, if my mom were to tell her barista that her drink was wrong and it needed to be remade, I'd be pissed if they were rude to her or impatient with her. So when I'm tired and busy and don't want to deal with customers who are complaining, I try to remember that this could be my mom, and that even though it's not, I need to be nice to her (or him, whatever the case may be).
I try to do that with annoying drivers, too, or the slow person in front of me at the post office, or anyone else who generally makes me feel anxious or stressed out. If I picture that middle-aged driver who just cut me off as my dad, I tend to be a lot more gracious about my reaction. It's that same "treat others the way you want to be treated" idea, but I added a "treat strangers as if you know and love them", because let's face it, we should be loving and patient with everyone, not just our friends and family. And further, we should be very loving and patient with our friends and family, too! (Sorry hubby, I know I can be a beast and impatient with you. But I'm working on it.)
To end, I'd like to include a little song I learned as a child that I enjoy singing to others who are being impatient.
"Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient
You only start to worry
That God is patient, too
And just think of all the times
When others had to wait for you."
What helps you be patient with others? I'm asking for reals...I'd love more ideas to practice.