7 Strategies Emotionally Intelligent People Use to Keep Their Feelings Under Control
You can’t control how you feel. But you can control how you react to your feelings–by focusing on your thoughts.
Our emotions influence practically every decision we make.
On the one hand, that’s a very good thing. Instead of leading a robotic existence, our feelings and emotions motivate and inspire us. The problem is when we become victims of those emotions. At times, all of us let temporary feelings and moods rule the way we make decisions, even when it leads to actions we later regret.
Since most of the emotions you experience occur almost instinctively, you can’t control how you feel in any given moment. But you can control how you react to those feelings–by focusing on your thoughts.
In my new book, EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence, I compare your ability to direct your thoughts to a set of controls on a media player. Just like these controls can help you get the most out of a movie or song, these methods will help you manage your emotional reactions.
Here they are, seven specific strategies to help manage emotions:
When you hit pause, you take time to stop and think before you speak or act. Doing so can prevent you from saying or doing something you’ll later regret–like sending an angry email or posting something regrettable on social media.
How to use it: If you feel your emotions are getting out of control, take a pause. If possible, go for a short walk. Once you’ve had the chance to calm down, come back and decide how you want to move forward.
2. Volume Control
Have you ever noticed that when speaking with someone, the other person usually responds in the exact same style or tone as you? If you’re calm and rational, they’ll respond in kind. Yell or scream, and they’ll do the same.
Here is where your volume control comes in: If you need to have an emotionally charged conversation, speak in a way that’s calm and collected.
How to use it: If a discussion begins to escalate, focus your efforts on “dialing it back” by softening your tone or lowering your voice. You’ll be surprised at how your partner follows your lead.
If an interaction with another person turns emotional, and leaving the situation is not an option, you might need to put yourself on “Mute.” In other words, stop speaking.
Hitting Mute is helpful because, often, sharing your point of view when your partner is emotional won’t help the situation. The best thing you can do is let the other person express their feelings.
How to use it: Take a deep breath and remind yourself that both your mood and that of your communication partner are temporary. Remember that much of what they say at this point may be extreme or exaggerated; resist the urge to respond in kind.
In many cases, once the person has let everything out, they’ll calm down. As you remain on mute, be sure to.
Recording is concentrated listening, with the intent to learn more about another person’s perspective. You’re not trying to figure out how to reply; instead, you’re listening to understand.
Through attentive listening, you often see things you didn’t see before, and can even discover basic misunderstandings you didn’t know existed.
How to use it: As you tune into the other person, don’t judge or offer advice. Instead, focus on learning more about how the other person sees you, how they see themselves, and how they see the situation.
Emotionally charged discussions are often rooted in deep-seated issues. If left alone, these problems will continue springing up.
That’s why you can’t just try to forget about the situation. Instead, use rewind to revisit the topic at a later time, once everyone’s had the chance to cool down.
How to use it: Carefully think about where, when, and how to reintroduce the subject.
For example, opening with an apology, an expression of thanks, or by acknowledging where you and your communication partner agree may lead the other person to lower their guard and become more open to whatever you have to say.
Fast-forwarding to the end may ruin a film, but it’s extremely helpful when dealing with your emotions. After you pause, step back and fast-forward to think about the consequences of your actions–both short- and long-term.
How to use it: Forget about how you feel in the moment. Ask yourself: How will this decision affect you in a month? A year? Five years?
Doing so can help you think clearly, see the big picture, and make better decisions.
“Negative” emotions like anger, frustration, fear, and sadness can prove harmful if left unchecked. But those same emotions can be useful–if you learn to harness them effectively.
Much like putting a film or song into slow-motion can help you see details you’ve never noticed, slowing down to analyze your negative emotions can help you figure out the underlying reasons behind your feelings and lead you to potential solutions.
How to use it: The next time you’re dealing with negative feelings or a bad mood, slow down and ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Can you take action to change a situation or circumstance and make things better? Or, can you ask someone for help?
Answering these questions can help put you in control of your feelings instead of leaving them in control of you.
We are emotional creatures. That’s not a bad thing, as long as we know how to deal with our feelings and moods in a positive way.
The key is not to take emotions out of the equation, but rather to find balance. It’s about learning to harmonize rational thought with deep emotions, balancing “brain” with “heart.”
That way, you’ll be sure to make emotions work for you, instead of against you.
The Secret to Mastering Patience
Patience requires absolute control over your thoughts, words, and deeds. Here’s how you can ace it.
Having trouble mastering patience?
Well, to combat that, you could try standing in the longest line at the supermarket. Or, when driving on the freeway, get behind someone observing the speed limit—and stay there. Or, if someone yells at you because you are not paying attention, turn and give him or her a big compliment.
The above suggestions were made by callers to an episode of NPR’s Talk of the Nation that featured author Allan Lokos speaking about his new book, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living. Allan’s book is filled with many practical suggestions for how you can master patience.
Patience is a matter of control. I certainly do not possess it, but I do admire those who do. And as someone who likes to be in control, as do most executives with whom I work, control may open the window to developing greater levels of patience.
Boil it down to the maxim, “control what you can control and let the rest go.” Patience, as Lokos explains, can be helpful when coping with the aging process. We cannot control what happens to us but we can control how we respond to it.
Patience unfairly is perceived as a passive act. In reality, as we know from the Buddhist tradition, it is all about self-mastery, and that requires absolute control over one’s thoughts, words, and deeds. Instead of directing your desire to control others, focus instead on yourself. Consider the following tips, many of which are standard meditation techniques:
- Focus on your breathing. In and out, one breath at a time.
- Take a walk and look for something you have not seen before.
- Sit in your favorite chair and reflect on your day. (Don’t turn on the TV or your music player.)
- Regard conversation as discussion not a contest. Listen to what the other person has to say. Pause before replying.
- Smile more. Practice in the mirror to see how long you can keep going.
- Pick up a favorite keepsake. Savor the memories it recalls.
Consider these as thought-starters. Think of one more you could add.
And remember: as virtuous as patience may be, it has its limits. For example, how long should you put up with an employee who is going through the motions and not contributing? Or how long should you endure a boss who cannot make a decision, and risks running your project off the rails? Or how long should you remain in an organization that has values that do not complement your own?
Patient leaders are not pacifists per se; they are often activists by nature. They are more like former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who quipped, “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”
Such leaders want to make things happen. And they act for the good of the team. But along the way they have learned that too much action is really inaction. Never mistake activity for productivity. And so it behooves us to slow things down and control what we can control.
And so next time I visit a grocery store I may head for a checkout line of medium length. My patience may not endure a long one.
Think about it for a minute. We all want instant gratification and want things without waiting. We expect packages delivered the same day. We expect immediate results in the gym. We have food delivered to us already pre-cut so that we can get a meal cooked 10 minutes faster. We can even have a book read to us or summarized for us so that we don’t have to read them. I think that has lead us to a life where we have very little patience. Maybe it is time we slow down and practice a little patience.
Here are four ways to be the patient person you never thought you could be.
1. Make Yourself Wait
The best way to practice patience is to make yourself wait. A study published in Psychological Science shows that waiting for things actually makes us happier in the long run. Start with something small like waiting a few extra minutes to drink that milkshake and then move on to something bigger. You will begin to gain more patience as you practice.
2. Stop Doing Things That Aren’t Important
We all have things in our lives that take time away from what is important. One way of removing stress from our lives is to stop doing those things. Take a few minutes and evaluate your week. Look at your schedule from when you wake up to the time you go to sleep. Take out two or three things that you do that aren’t important but take time. It’s time to learn to say no to things that cause stress and make us impatient.
3. Be Mindful of the Things Making You Impatient
Most people have several tasks in their head, and they jump from thought to thought without taking the time to finish one task first. We live interrupted lives as we try to multitask and it is frustrating when we feel we aren’t making progress. It is better to be mindful of our thoughts and the best way to understand this is to write down what makes you impatient. This will help you slow down and focus on one task at a time and remove those things that stress you out.
4. Relax and Take Deep Breaths
Most of all, just relax and take deep breaths. Taking slow deep breaths can help calm the mind and body. This is the easiest way to help ease any impatient feelings you are experiencing. If breathing doesn’t help I find taking a walk to clear your head can be helpful in getting refocused on whats important. The point is to find some time for you each day to decompress.
It is time we all slow down and practice a little more patience. We would be less stressed and more mindful of the things that stress us out. If that leads to being happier then isn’t it worth trying?
Self-control enables children to cooperate with others, to cope with frustration, and to resolve conflicts. Learn how you can help your infant and child begin to develop this skill that is necessary for success in school and healthy social development.
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Self-control means being able to express and cope with strong emotions in appropriate ways—for a toddler, this may mean saying “I’m mad at you” instead of biting. Self-control also involves thinking skills, as we decide which of our impulses to act on. Developing self-control begins at birth and continues across our lives. It is a skill that is critical to children’s school success and overall healthy development. It enables children to cooperate with others, to cope with frustration, and to resolve conflicts. Young children learn these skills through interactions with others and guidance from parents and other caregivers.
Babies are born with virtually no self-control. They have little-to-no ability to control their emotional states or behavior. However, the process of developing self-control begins in a baby’s earliest months and continues across the first three years and beyond:
A newborn is being changed and doesn’t like it one bit—he is sobbing and screaming. His father says, “Almost done, little man. I know you don’t like this. Hang in there, I’ve just got to get your pants on.” Then the father scoops his son up and holds him until he stops crying. This baby is learning that he can count on loved ones to help him regain control when he is feeling overwhelmed.
A 9-month-old pulls up on a low table and grabs the television remote. He is happily pushing buttons when his mother gently removes it from his hand and puts it on a bookshelf, while saying, “The remote is not a toy, sweetie. I can’t let you play with it. But how about this instead?” She offers him a “busy box” with lots of buttons to push and doors to open. This baby is learning about appropriate behavior, how to cope with disappointment, and how to accept a substitute when his first choice is off-limits.
A 2-year-old wants the toy that his friend is playing with. He grabs it; when his friend begins to cry, he slaps his friend and begins to cry himself. His mother calms him and then helps him return the toy to his friend. She explains that hitting is not okay and gives him the words he needs to ask for a turn with the toy. This toddler is learning how to manage and express his strong feelings and impulses; to calm himself, and to make acceptable behavioral choices.
From Birth to 12 Months
Babies have very little self-control. They naturally act on thoughts and feelings without the ability to stop themselves. With sensitive guidance from parents and caregivers, they can begin to learn to manage their feelings and actions.
Help your child to soothe herself.
The calmer she feels, the more in control she will be. Babies have different ways of calming down. Some need lots of physical contact such as rocking or hugging; others prefer to be swaddled or put down for a minute. You teach your child to calm herself by staying calm yourself when she loses control. This helps her feel safe.
Teach acceptable behaviors.
Tell and show your child what he can do, not only what he’s not allowed to do. If he’s throwing balls around the house, give him an empty trashcan to throw them into or take him outside and show him where and how he can throw the ball. This helps him learn right from wrong and to channel his energy and interests in acceptable ways as he grows.
12 to 24 Months
Toddlers have minds of their own and strong feelings that they express with gusto. “No!” becomes a favorite word and a powerful way to assert their independence. At the same time, toddlers can become easily frustrated because there are still many things that they want to do but cannot. Routines are especially helpful now as they make children feel secure at a time when they can feel very out of control.
Give your child opportunities to choose.
Giving children, even young toddlers, opportunities to choose lets them know you trust them to make good decisions. It also helps them feel in control. Let your child make decisions about what to play, what to read, or what to have for snack (give him two healthy snacks to choose from).
Label and recognize your child’s feelings.
Letting children know their feelings are understood helps them calm down and regain control. This doesn’t mean you give in to their demand. “I know you are mad that you have to go to bed, but hitting me is not okay. You can hit this pillow; or we can read this book together instead.” Naming and recognizing his feelings helps your child learn to manage his emotions, a important skill necessary for later school success.
24 to 36 Months
Older toddlers are still unable to stop themselves from acting on their desires. Again, recognizing their feelings and suggesting other ways they can express themselves is still the best response at this age. As they grow, encourage them to think about what else they can do—throw the balls into the laundry basket instead of at the wall. The ability to substitute an acceptable action for one that is not acceptable is essential for functioning well in school.
Give your child opportunities to choose.
Present him with two acceptable options and let her choose, “Would you like to brush your teeth or put on your pajamas first?” Rather than telling her to get her rain boots, help her think it through on her own: “It is raining out. What will you need to bring to child care today so you can go on a rain-walk with your class?” If a decision is really yours, don’t offer a choice. Say, “It’s bed time,” not “Are you ready to go to bed?”
Help your child learn to wait.
Waiting helps children learn self-control. And it teaches them that others have needs, too. Make the wait-time short and give your child something to do in the meantime. Also, playing with friends offers many opportunities to help your child learn to wait, to share, and to take-turns. With your guidance and lots of practice, your child will be well equipped to work out conflicts with his school pals later on.
Let’s face it: No one likes to wait вЂ” least of all active preschoolers who haven’t yet learned why patience matters. Nor have they developed the coping skills to be able to wait successfully. Still, teaching your child patience is important. She’ll need it to be successful in school and in life.
What to Expect
It’s tough to say how patient you can expect your child to be at each age. Some kids are naturally more patient than others. That’s why it’s helpful for you to observe your child and understand that for some kids, waiting comes easily, while for others it’s really difficult, says Roni Leiderman, Ph.D., associate dean of the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “That said, there is undoubtedly a difference between what you can expect from a three year old and what you can expect from a five year old,” says Leiderman. “As your child’s language skills develop and he gains more experience with waiting, you can expect him to be more patient.”
“Whether your child is naturally patient or not, you can do a lot to help her learn by starting early,” says Claire Lerner, LCSW, a child development specialist at the nonprofit organization Zero to Three. “Even when she’s just nine or ten months old, you don’t always have to immediately fix everything for her. If you do, she won’t learn to hang in there during the struggle and eventually master challenges.” For example, when your baby’s ball rolls out of reach, don’t retrieve it for her right away. Instead ask, “How can we get the ball?” and help her figure out how to do it. The same holds true as kids get older. If your child throws a puzzle piece out of frustration, say “Puzzles can be so frustrating. What if we try it together? Does that piece fit here? How about here?” Says Lerner, “Her joy at figuring it out will give her confidence that she can draw from for future challenges.”
More Ways to Teach Patience
Learning to wait and to take turns are important elements of learning patience. Try these skill-building strategies:
- Model patience.В “Your child is always learning from you, so be aware of the words and body language you use when you have to wait for something,” says Leiderman. Instead of acting anxious when you’re stuck in traffic, put in a relaxing CD, for example.
- Use reflective listening.В Young children don’t have the words to express what they’re feeling, but you can help verbalize those emotions. In the checkout line, you might say, “I know it’s hard to wait. This is taking a long time, but you’re doing a great job waiting.” Says Leiderman, “If you acknowledge your child’s struggle, he’ll naturally try harder.”
- Keep expectations reasonable.В Asking your preschooler to wait an hour for food is just too long. At a restaurant, ask your server to bring bread or crackers as soon as you sit down, and have a book or quiet game handy to keep your child occupied.
- Help her develop strategies for waiting.В When you must wait, help your child figure out what she can do to pass the time. Say, “What can we do while we’re waiting? Should we sing songs or read a book?”
- Use a timer to help your child visualize the wait.В If he is begging for a story, but you need time to finish what you’re doing, set an egg timer for 5 minutes and tell him that when the bell rings, you’ll read the book, suggests Lerner.
- Consider preschool.В “One of the real values of having your child in a programВ before kindergartenВ is that she learns waiting and self-control вЂ” two foundations of school readiness,” says Lerner. If your child hasn’t learned these skills by the time she starts school, her impatience may draw a negative response from the teacher and other students.
“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
William S. Burroughs
Patience can be a struggle.
I know this firsthand. My experience with impatience used to be confined to overusing the microwave or skipping to the end of a long novel.
Back then, when waiting at a traffic light for more than two minutes seemed like an eternity, I didn’t know that life would teach me several advanced lessons in patience.
Shortly after finishing my morning bike ride I started feeling queasy. I wondered what was happening, but tried to ignore the feeling. The queasiness was replaced with severe abdominal pain, and I had to be rushed to the hospital.
Waiting in the emergency room for hours while in deep physical pain was a first test of patience. I passed the test because I had no other option. I couldn’t wait to be told I had indigestion and to be sent back home.
When the ER doctor came into my tiny room and announced they would need to perform an appendectomy, I didn’t ask if I would be okay. Instead, I asked, “When will I heal? How long is it going to take?”
Smiling, the doctor answered, “Two weeks.” I panicked. I could not possibly be in bed for two weeks! But the two weeks turned into four, and by the fourth week, I had finally learned my first advanced lesson: to be humble.
My experience recovering from surgery taught me to slow down and to listen to my body, and once I allowed myself to relax, the healing happened.
A few years later I was tested again, and this test would prove itself to be one of the hardest challenges in my life. I lost one of the people closest to me. This was someone who I thought would always be there for me.
Beyond devastated, I fell into a depression. It wasn’t an immobilizing depression, but it led me to a period of deep grief and sadness.
Weeks and months went by, but my negative feelings seemed to remain unchanged. Anxiety and fear crept in. I wanted to heal, but it wasn’t happening. The most pressing question in my head was, “When am I finally going to heal?”
People would tell me, “You’ll be fine,” or “This too shall pass.” I listened to them, acknowledged their good intentions, and understood the message they wanted to convey. And yet, healing still didn’t happen.
I was not able to heal until I was willing to be patient with myself and my emotions.
It was only when I let the feelings be and stopped putting a timeframe to my healing that I created the space my soul needed to receive the answer to my question: When will I heal?
The first answer I received is that in a universe in which everything is in divine order, things might not happen as quickly as we want them to happen.
The second answer is that, in order to heal, we need to take down the subconscious wall of anxiety built by our impatience. Once I took down this wall, grief lost its power over me.
When I became patient, I realized I was in control, and once I gained control, emotional and spiritual healing started to manifest.
Regardless of how fast I was healing, I wasn’t concerned about how quickly it happened. A Course in Miracles says, “Infinite patience produces immediate results.” The result I achieved by being patient was peace, and peace was automatic healing.
So, whether you’re trying to lose weight, take on exercise, learn a new skill at work, or adjust to a cross-country move, keep the word patience in your mind.
Allow yourself to be still, and remember that if you’re aligned with who you really are, all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place at the right time.
Spend some time in silence, and listen to the voice of your intuition, which is the voice of your true self. Sometimes you won’t be able to hear that voice, so be patient. Trust that you will receive the answers you seek in time.
Finally, celebrate the small milestones: a pound lost, a mile ran, a spreadsheet done, a new neighbor met, a happy moment. As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Patience is one of those virtues that sounds simple from a distance. However, while the thought of waiting for something you want or need seems easy in theory, it is much more arduous in practice. When you’re actually faced with the obstacle, the entire concept of patience grows more challenging, and it can be difficult to improve patience in the moment.
This test of patience rings true not just for Type-A East Coasters like me, but also for special education teachers, speech therapists, and nurses – who drip with patience. At times, it’s not a muscle that’s easy to flex no matter who you are.
Some people have more patience for family and loved ones, while others find strangers actually easier to be patient around. For some, the smaller the obstacle, the less the patience – and for others, the opposite is true.
Whatever or whomever your trigger, patience is most difficult to muster up when you encounter a roadblock or waiting time between you and that something you want or need. Whether it’s as simple as:
- The long line at the grocery store when you just want to get home with your groceries
- The hold time when you want to speak to a customer service representative
- The five minutes you must wait when your spouse is running late for dinner
- Waiting for your computer to reboot
- Waiting for your doctor to call you with test results
- Waiting to hear back about whether or not you got that promotion or dream job
- Waiting for an investor’s offer on a business
No matter the gravity of the situation, mindfulness can help you practice patience. What is the link between mindfulness and patience? Let’s have a look:
Patience vs. Mindfulness
To understand the role mindfulness plays in being patient, let’s make sure we are all working off of the same definition of patience, which, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary means, “bearing pains or trials calmly and without compliant” and “steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.”
You can’t really practice patience if you’re not mindful – aware of the situation you’re in and your reaction to it. In the face of discomfort, inconvenience, or difficulty, which is an inevitable part of life on this planet, you must persevere calmly, steadily, and mindfully.
This may be easier in the face of some of the simple inconveniences, like waiting in line or in traffic, and can become much more difficult at the center of a very troubling or prolonged situation.
The good news is that even the most impatient people can improve patience. And there are ample opportunities to practice being patient, given the inevitable inconveniences, annoyances, and unplanned challenges that show up pretty much all the time. So you want to get better at patience? You must practice patience. Here are seven strategies you can use to build your patience muscles.
Pause and Breathe
If you use the time you must wait to take a few deep breaths, your nervous system will slow down instead of speed up. In some situations, by the time you have taken 10 deep breaths, your wait will be over. In others, these breaths will help to center you and invite a calmer reaction to the wait.
Have you ever noticed that when you meet an unplanned inconvenience or challenge with resistance, you are really thrown off – and your mood can turn sour and heavy? Everything becomes about overcoming and removing the challenge when you resist it.
On the other hand, when you meet an unplanned inconvenience or challenge with calmness, your mood remains steady and patient. This is the power in responding, rather than reacting to unwelcome circumstances. Most often, it is not external circumstances that make you upset, it is your reaction to those external circumstances that causes the greater dose of stress in life.
How do you control this when you’re at risk for getting impatient? The trick here is to reduce resisting experiences that come your way, where you are unable to affect change. Practicing acceptance does not necessarily mean you like, want, support, or endorse everything you cross paths with. Rather, it means you’re choosing to allow it to be there without resistance, when you can’t change it anyway.
In this way, practicing patience is to practice making your default reaction to accept what is with openness, rather than resist it. This does not mean you have to welcome the situation with open arms and enthusiasm – it just means that you avoid resisting it and let it happen within a neutral attitude.
Acknowledge the Effects of Impatience
In the moment, notice what is making you impatient and ask yourself:
- Do I have control over the situation? If not, what do I have control over in this moment?
- Is the feeling of impatience helping or exacerbating the impact of the situation?
- What emotion or mood would be more helpful, instead of the impatience?
Look for the Silver Lining or Lesson
Get curious about the particular moment you are in. Is there anything about the challenging or inconvenient situation that may land a positive impact on your life? Is there anything positive that was not available to you before – and now is – now that this challenge has presented itself?
This may be include meeting someone new, discovering a new coffee shop, or having the opportunity to practice patience and exercise those muscles.
Use the Extra Time Wisely
Now that you have extra time in this moment, what will you do with it? Instead of focusing on the thing that is in your way, or the thing you are after, focus on something else you normally don’t have time for.
After all, how often do you find yourself with “extra time?” Probably not very often. Use that time to meditate, read an article, listen to a podcast, text something nice to a loved one, or practice gratitude.
Try a Mini Meditation
Take a time-out and practice a short meditation to help you calm any frustration or anger that may result from the situation you are in. Here are 10 mini meditations you can try.
Befriend the Situation
Assume that the obstacle before you was put in your way because you needed to slow down and take a break.
Watch your impulse to perceive the challenge before you as unfair or as bad timing. Instead, shake off any anger or frustration and take this as a cue that an old friend is reminding you that you need a moment to slow down and reset.
If you shift your thinking about the meaning of the obstacle, you’ll wind up arriving wherever you’re headed with a calmer, clearer mind and attitude.
Getting better at being patient will make your life (and the lives of those around you) easier and ultimately will make you a happier person. After all – adversity won’t be going away anytime soon – it’s part of the human experience and you can’t escape it. So you may as well learn to improve your patience and calmly endure the setbacks, difficulties, and unwelcome roadblocks along the way.
To say patience is a virtue is an understatement. It’s really more of a skill—one that can be learned and needs constant nurturing.
Patience is the state of being that occurs between experience and reaction. Whether you’re trying to be patient with yourself, others, or life, it seems to always involve the experience of dealing with delays or obstacles.
By cultivating a practice of patience, you’re able to let go of things outside your control and live with less stress, anxiety, and frustration.
It’s not an easy practice, but here are a few perspectives on how to cultivate patience to open up new possibilities.
Practicing Patience with Yourself
When you look at what it means to have patience, you’re ultimately talking about dealing with your own thoughts and emotions. As a spiritual being, there is an unbounded, limitless presence within you that is constantly seeking expression.
As a time-bound, physical being, you have limitations for expressing this inner knowledge—constantly seeking instant gratification and spontaneous movement that doesn’t exist in the physical realm.
You think, act, and experience, and this should be the simplicity of life. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Problems arise when what you think and do doesn’t seem to produce immediate results.
But the most important thing to focus on is the word “seem.” The wisdom handed down through the ages supports the idea that every heartfelt intention and desire is met with support from the Universe, and then, as an individual, you make decisions that affect your experience.
Maybe it’s time to look inward and ask why you don’t have patience with yourself. Ask yourself:
- What does it mean to be patient with myself?
- What benefits would I experience by being patient with myself?
- What can I do to become more patient with myself?
Remember that patience is the ability to not be troubled by life’s changes, delays, or other undesirables. It’s the ability to maintain stillness in the midst of disappointment.
Try to practice self-awareness in those moments where you feel the greatest need for patience.
- Pay attention to what arises in you
- Notice where you feel the stress
- Listen to your thoughts
- Take note of your emotions
A powerful benefit to practicing patience is that you cultivate the peace of mind to guide yourself out of these moments. Even the simple act of looking within at a time when you’re feeling impatient can be healing.
Use awareness to maintain your calm. Tap into your stillness and preserve it. See these moments of self-reflection as opportunities to strengthen yourself in self-control and grace.
Practicing Patience with Others
Cultivating patience with others is an entirely different challenge. Other people are always acting, thinking, and feeling in ways that are potentially disagreeable.
Since everyone has a right to personal freedom, no one has the right to hinder others from their life or personal self-expression—no matter how much you’d like to sometimes. It’s hard to simply live and let live.
The problem with this is that you’re constantly surrounded by other people and the ways you live your life will be different. The gift of living through patience, however, is that you become less reactionary.
When others let you down or irritate you, be patient with them. Gently express love and stillness. Remember that they are growing—just like you—and that life is a process.
Whatever issues you may have with another person are more than likely temporary and will undoubtedly change once you let go of your own agenda. What disturbs you now about this person may change and in the next moment you may laugh with them or feel some other positive emotion.
Regardless of what other people do or think, you have a choice in how you allow it to affect you. Your mind may jump to negative notions and reactions, your body may even register a response, but you are the source of it all. Ultimately you can tap into your stillness, your peace.
Remember this and from this have patience. You are one with the eternal. The things, people, and situations in your life change. Patience is an expression of this awareness and of love.
Practicing Patience with Life
Gaining patience can be transformative to your overall life experience. So much of life is about awareness, growth, and learning—these are the things that are always going on behind the scenes.
When you want things to happen in your life, you can prolong the process by giving your attention and energy to the frustration you feel about waiting. The waiting is not the problem. It’s how you deal with it, how you see it.
Practicing patience shifts your attention away from the stress and frustration. Acting with patience is a way of telling life that you are in charge. You are in no hurry, there is no distress—only peace and confidence in your truth.
This is a regal trait—one of strength and majesty over your life’s circumstances. The Universe will respond to this attitude with support and cooperation.
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Expressing feelings can be tough for introverts and there are some good reasons why. Fortunately, there are ways you can get better at this.
About 30% of the global population is introverted. What does it mean to be an introvert and why can expressing feelings be a real struggle when you are one?
Introverts have a secluded, silent yarn. When they don’t know a person well enough, they may seem reserved and distant. They feel good in familiar environments, and in terms of friendships, their circle is restricted.
Even though introverts spend much time in their inner world, they would hardly reveal anything about it to the outer world. That’s why they prefer listening to the others rather than talking about themselves. For the same reason, expressing feelings can be a struggle for an introverted person.
The strengths of an introvert:
- are good listeners
- are independent
- have a deep and original thinking
- have integrity
- they have a well-integrated sense of self
- are constant in what they do
- they have stable and profound feelings
Despite their wonderful character and deep intelligence, introverts often struggle to communicate their emotions and express their feelings. If you want to help an introvert become more open, the first step is to understand that you cannot force them to behave like an extrovert.
Thus, if you are a parent of an introverted child, you should patiently support them to develop their communication skills. For introverts, these skills do not come in naturally as in the case of extroverts.
But what inhibits adult introverts from talking about their feelings? Below are 3 reasons why expressing feelings can be difficult for introverts.
Many introverts do not feel comfortable in large groups of people, and you will notice from their attitude that they would like to be elsewhere and not be disturbed by anyone. This happens because the public can usually be their worst nightmare, unlike the extroverts, who feel like a fish in the water in a noisy and large crowd.
That’s why you have to approach an introvert with calmness, without much noise and agitation. If you fail to do this, you risk intimidating him/her seriously, and communication is about to become a fiasco.
What you can do is to take your time to discover the introvert and limit yourself to a few questions to create a relaxed atmosphere. At the same time, avoid all sorts of obvious remarks and questions such as: “You do not feel well here, do you?” Or “You’re a little shy, are not you?”
To take an introvert out of their comfort zone, give them some quality humor and an interesting topic to debate.
No aggressivity for introverts
Introverts usually have a rich & vivid inner life and that’s why they feel very well in their own company.
They don’t waste their time in crowded places where they do not feel comfortable, and if you want to have a conversation with such a person, it would be advisable to meet her/him in a quiet, natural place, because introverts need to be in touch with their senses.
Introverts can see a situation from many standpoints, which many times can turn them into pessimists. This feeling can be amplified when they interact with people because introverts can easily absorb others’ emotions.
An additional reason that may make introverts struggle with expressing their feelings is the fear of having their thoughts and feelings ignored or disregarded. The solution is to help them gain their trust, so they can freely talk about their feelings and tell you their worries or dreams.
What to do if you are introvert and think that your communication skills need an improvement?
If expressing feelings is a struggle for you, try these tips:
Control your thoughts
Most people have a tendency to focus on the negative thoughts. Whether we are talking about worries or negative events that have happened in the past, people tend to think of what could go wrong instead of concentrating on what they have to do.
You have to be aware that there is a risk to fail, but you should not focus your thoughts on a possible failure but on what you have to do. And whatever you have to do, do it well! So, when engaging in a conversation, do not assume that people will not fully understand you or that they may judge you.
Get out of your comfort zone whenever you have the opportunity
It is said that whenever you do something that you are afraid of, you suddenly find that things do not turn out to be that bad. If you like to spend more time in solitude, perhaps you should dare to meet new people, new minds who will inspire and motivate you.
Be careful who your friends are
You need to know that the people you spend time with are very important as they can either support or hinder your growth. Do not hesitate to kick those who do not value you as a person.
True friends encourage each other when they have problems. So, if you have people around who tend to point out your weaknesses, make sure they are no longer in your circle.
Rest and exercise
For you to be content with who you are, you have to look after yourself. And that includes a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity, healthy nutrition and good quality sleep. This will boost up your confidence and trust in your skills to connect to the world.
Take courage! The world is not as scary as it may look.
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