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The Practice of Patience

Buddhist teachings tell us that patience is the antidote to anger and aggression.
Take a moment to think about how you really feel when you’re angry. Often when we feel anger in a given situation, we want to seek out some sort of resolution. It is not pleasant (for most of us) to feel anger…so we look for a way to bring it to an end. As an example, if someone says something that hurts your feelings, you get angry and want to say something back to make them understand that what was said was wrong, or inconsiderate.
Unfortunately, we often tend to escalate the anger and negative feelings by striking out at those around us.
We yell, we scream, we take it to the next level. We say hurtful things we may wish we could take back at a later time.
Clients often find themselves reacting quickly, embroiled in a state of mind full of rage and pain. It’s a viscious¬† “anger-cycle”…with your words or your actions, in order to escape the pain of the source of anger…you go on to create more aggression and rage in your subsequent response.
This is where patience comes in. It helps you slow down the cycle, and hopefully stop it. I often tell my clients to envision a big red stop sign, and remind them to simply slow things down…to “stop and think“…To be patient with yourself and those around you.
Don’t confuse patience with suppression. This doesn’t mean that you can’t openly and honestly express your feelings. Patience has a quality of not escalating things, allowing space for the other person to speak and express themselves. When you practice patience, you are not repressing anger, but rather you are sitting there alongside it, recognizing it and **not** letting it take control of you or the situation.
Remember…the next time you find yourself on the verge of engaging in the “anger cycle”…instead of reacting, take some time and try to be patient.
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