On a fresh, fall like morning, I walked up to the front door (of a house that isn’t mine) after a run, feeling refreshed and exhilarated. This is going to be a GREAT day, I thought to myself. Upon walking into the house, I saw a suspicious brown substance on the carpet. Dog poop. Just like that, my relaxing morning turned into annoyance and frustration. One of the two dogs that I have been dogsitting the last few days had decided to forego using their outdoors to relieve themselves. The worst part? This was the third time this had happened in just as many days.
Needless to say, dogsitting has been a huge test to my patience. In the past, dogsitting has been a huge treat for me, and I didn’t expect this weekend to be any different. I LOVE dogs, and when I was younger, I used to revel in the idea of having a whole house to myself. This time, however, I’m realizing how established I am in my whole routine and life. Knowing that the family of these dogs is expecting me to spend every waking moment with these dogs has caused me great anxiety, and makes me guilty everytime I leave to go do something fun. I feel imprisoned in a house that is unfamiliar to me, and frustrated that my schedule is so dependent on something other than my own whims. Oh, and I have to wake up at 6am to feed the dogs…. Not my favorite.
Obviously, I am being dramatic; it’s not THAT bad and the dogs are above and beyond cute. But, for whatever reason, this weekend has done a huge number on my patience. I’m finding myself irritable and sad just being here, and realizing that I need to shift my attitude.
To practice patience, I’ve worked on the following items this weekend:
- Step back. Sometimes, our feelings can get so overwhelming that our heads are spinning. Take a moment to step out of the situation. Whether it be stepping out to take a quick walk, taking 10 minutes to breath and meditate, or call a friend, it can help to both physically and mentally remove yourself from the situation that is causing the impatience. I sought out a meditation with the theme of meditation and it very much helped me receneter and refocus.
- Go with gratitude. When in a place of frustration, it is often helpful to remind yourself of what you are grateful for. As I have discussed in previous posts, writing a list of things that you are grateful for everyday is very helpful for a mindfulness practice and will improve your mood and general happiness.
- Practice perspective. While you may feel like the moment of impatience is the only thing you can focus on, remind yourself that this is temporary, and you have probably been through worse. Focus on something in the future that will help you get through this moment.
- Don’t judge yourself. The more you are upset about your feelings and the more you pass judgement on them, the harder it will be able to move on from them. Try to look at your feelings from an objective standpoint. Notice you are going through this moment, acknowledge how it makes you feel, and do not pass judgement at anything you observe.
Having patience with yourself, your loved ones, and your tough moments is one of the most difficult things in life, but having healthy patience can increase your mood and general well being; Just like gratitude, patience is something we all need to practice in order to improve; it’s not an inherent quality that some have and others don’t (although I do believe that some people are more inclined to patience than others). Think of moments or conversations that you could use more patience, and brainstorm how you can practice patience in those times. Always remember to have patience with yourself as you try to master this new skill!