We all have that one person. The person who pushes your buttons, who steals the spotlight, who drives you crazy. You know the one. It’s easy to let the anger boil up around this individual and that dims your inner light.
Relationships are meant to help fuel our spiritual core, not harm them. So let’s learn a thing or two about patience with others’ imperfections.
Kindness Over Judgement
None of us are perfect. We all have our quirks and annoyances that irk other people. So, how do we look past these frustrating qualities and find connection?
Simply, be kind. Theologian Albert Schweitzer said, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstandings, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” Even if you feel the other individual is wrong, you can defuse the situation with a simple act of kindness. Open your heart and ask God for help if this seems too difficult.
If you’re a regular to spirituality, sometimes it’s easy to judge others for choosing a less spiritual journey. Raeeka taught: “When you’re on a spiritual path in particular, it can be easy sometimes to fall into the illusion that you’ve made it. You’ve figured it out. You are enlightened and can now teach everybody else how to be just like you.” We just can’t think this way. Pride such as this leaves no room for kindness. A humble heart, full of kindness, will mend broken relationships and improve connection with those around you.
Switch Your Perspective
When you feel frustration and impatience creeping in, take a moment to breathe. Calm your emotions and clear your mind. And then imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes. Everyone faces challenges—and many of them go unseen. Someone’s quirks that annoy you might just be behavior caused by deep pain.
The “Greater Good Magazine” from Berkeley University shares an insightful article about empathetic people. They discuss six habits to learn the skill of empathy, the first being to “cultivate curiosity about strangers.” If you want to strengthen the relationships with those you associate with, be brave enough to care about strangers. Talk to someone in the line at the grocery store. Strike up a conversation with someone pumping gas next to you. Leave a kind sticky note on a stranger’s car. These simple acts of kindness will help you become empathetic to those that cause frustration or annoyance in your life.
Switch your perspective. Try to see this individual through a spiritual lens. Even someone who drives you crazy is a spiritual being. Peel back their imperfections and peek into their soul. Choose to be kind and change the way you view others.
Work Through Your Own Imperfections
The only person you can really control is yourself. Perhaps on this journey to discover greater patience with imperfections, you’ve noticed certain qualities or traits you want to improve in yourself. When we’re constantly focused on others’ imperfections, we miss out on the opportunity to grow. We stop looking in and lose sight of what is most important. Your spiritual journey is uniquely yours.
Comparing your growth to others only dims your inner light. Remember: we are all at different places on the spiritual spectrum.
So, have a little grace for yourself as well. Working on increasing your spiritual health takes change, which is often uncomfortable. Take time for self-reflection. Accept your flaws and invite your higher power to help you navigate these imperfections. As you work through your own imperfections, you’ll discover greater patience and grace for others and their unique qualities.
Reflect on these words of wisdom from Brene Brown the next time you’re tempted to judge someone else: “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we are all in this together.”