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Three reasons intentions can help you become more patient

When your patience is running low, try this to help you respond with love in the present moment.

I wrote the words carefully on the smooth cream page of my journal, maybe just maybe, the words would be marked indelibly in my mind.

I am patience.

Not I will be patient. Or I am patient. If I am practicing it, I am owning it.

I closed my eyes and repeated the words softly, like a mantra or a prayer if you will, as I started my day.

My first step to practicing patience: Start with an intention.

“Mommy, can we watch Shrek again?”

The day was winding down and my girls were fresh and clean in their pajamas. We were settling down to watch our movie for the night.

So far so good, I thought to myself.

I was reviewing our day while the opening credits rolled on the screen.

My girls and I played tents and neighbors. We had snacks together. We played blocks. All without a skirmish.

The day’s patience practice has been easy. So far.

“Mommy, can you carry me?” My little girl had been a little cranky after her shower. But I thought she was just sleepy and a little tired from playing the whole day.

As I rocked her in my arms, she started crying a little. Not the sad “I’m hurt” cry. The “I want something, give it to me now” kind of cry.

“Is there something you need baby?” I asked her.

“I want gum.”

“We don’t have one right now. We can buy one tomorrow, if you’d like.”

“But I really want it!”

Chewing gums wasn’t exactly part of our nightly ritual and I had no idea where her sudden craving came from.

Then again, there are times when I have sudden cravings too, like for popcorn and chocolate fudge brownies. You don’t need a baby in your belly to get cravings.

Maybe that’s what it’s like for her too.

“Maybe tomorrow?”

She wriggled herself out of my arms and started sulking in a corner.

My big girl walked over and hugged her trying to make her smile. But my little girl stayed put in her corner, kicking her toy basket in frustration.

“Let her be, she’s still a little upset,” I told the big sister.

But little turned into big. And she started opening and banging the door.

Thug. Thug. thug.

So this is my patience test for the day.

I could feel the heat rising in my chest again. On no you don’t. That’s me controlling myself.

This time, I scooped my little girl up, closed my eyes and remembered my little morning mantra.

I am patience.
This too shall pass.

I rocked her and swayed her from side to side just like I used to do when all of her could still fit in the groove of my right arm.

A few minutes of wriggling and crying later, she was calm, sleepy and ready to go to bed.

I heaved a sigh of relief. It is done.

As I stroked her hair and kissed my little girl good night, I remembered how strong the power of an intention is.

  • Intentions help you focus. Like a spotlight on a darkened stage, it comes to your mind front and center just when you need it.

  • Intentions guide your actions. Instead of automatically reacting, you stop, think and respond lovingly as the situation calls for it.

  • Intentions help you to remember. Even if you can’t control what happens around you, you remember that you have power over yourself and the present moment.

When you find yourself in a trying situation, remember: This too shall pass. It always does.

Focus: Even if you can’t control what happens around you, you have power over yourself. You can choose how you will respond at the present moment.

Practice: When you wake up, set an intention to be patient. You can simply think about it, you can say it out loud a few times or you can write it down to help you remember.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your ideas about setting intentions:

What intentions do you set for your day?
How do you set your intentions?

Let me know what you think.