Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Patience (with ourselves and each other) is probably the most important characteristic of love.
Patience does not mean avoiding all confrontation, but it does mean letting go of (not sweating) the small stuff. It does mean avoiding personal attacks and condemning intonations and expressions when confronting what we believe to be undesirable attitudes and and behaviors in each other (including our children and our mates) or ourselves.
It is helpful when attempting to be patient with others to think about how we would feel if our situations were reversed.
Sharing information about our preferences and opinions can be very helpful in our relationships with each other, while reprimands, admonitions, and condescending attitudes are less likely to be helpful and may even be very hurtful and harmful (the more severe and more frequent, the more hurtful and harmful). When we have acted in these negative ways, an apology is almost always in order and can help temper the damage we have done.
It is important to remember that we get angry and lose patience out of fear that we are going to lose something we need. If we can identify the fear, we often can regain our patience as we consider whether what we need is really currently threatened or whether there is some other way to obtain what we need.