How To Be Patient When Things Aren't In Your Control

By Jigeesha


Last Updated: March 20, 2021

In life, things don't always work out with ease. No matter how hard you try to get things to happen a certain way, sometimes you will have to deal with delays that are beyond your control.

When situations are beyond your ability to control, your anxiety may spin out of control. It may be hard for you to focus on the present and not spiral into emotional distress.

Worrying is thinking about something that hasn't happened yet. In other words, leaving the present moment can make you feel tensed and sluggish.

What you need to do now is maintain a perspective that serves you. This is where patience comes in handy.

Patience helps you gain present moment awareness. It brings a sense of calmness that enables you to find clarity in life. Patience can do wonders for your overall well-being.

Here are a few tips to help you stay patient when things aren't in your control.


1. Accept the situation.

If you have done everything in your control to achieve the desired outcome, then, for now, the best thing to do is to accept the situation as it is.

It doesn't mean you're okay with everything, but if you think you don't have much to do right now, it's best to let go.

The thought of letting go doesn't sit well with many people. They try to gain control over other people and situations so that they can get exactly what they want.

They tend to overlook the fact we don't have control over anyone else except ourselves.

Then there are people who are aware of this fact, yet they can't help but worry about potential bad outcomes. They keep replaying the worst-case scenarios in their head and engaging in negative self-talk.

You will come across many situations in your life that challenge your patience. Instead of reacting impulsively, view those situations as opportunities to practice patience.

Once you let go of obsessing about the bad outcomes, you’ll be free to use your mental resources in situations where you can make a difference.

Accepting the reality can help take the edge off the frustration. Again, accepting a situation does not mean that you have to approve it, rather it means that you stop resisting it.


2. Focus on other areas of your life.

If one area of your life is not working as expected, it doesn't mean that you're doomed.

Whatever you focus on, becomes the most important thing to you in the present.

So if you direct your attention toward something you can change, you will create things that comfort you and bring you a sense of control.

You will feel empowered.

When you try too hard to change things beyond your control, you won't have any energy left to work on things you can actually improve.

Instead of remaining stuck in a worry loop, shift your focus to things that bring real benefits and trigger positive emotions.

Spend your energy and time on what matters most in your life. Do not give your power away to something you cannot control.

You want to become intentional about your perspective, not helpless and worn out.


3. Use affirmations.

It's easy to lose hope when the wait for our desired outcome seems unending.

However, imagining worst-case scenarios over and over again isn't going to speed things up. It's one thing to be prepared, but dwelling on negative emotions clouds your judgment and stops you from taking action.

Pause and ask yourself if what you're doing is helping you to solve your problems. Are your thoughts helpful? Or are they inciting frustration and despair?

Here you can use affirmation to break out of the cycle of negative thinking.

Tell yourself,

"everything is okay"

"things will work out perfectly"

"I am deserving of good things"

"I will get through this"

Your thoughts can make all the difference.

A negative internal dialogue such as "My life sucks, I never get what I want" will only add to your stress.

You need mental strength to overcome difficult situations in your life.

Too much negative thinking and self-doubt erode your mental strength. Whereas affirmations help you find the positive potential of the situation.

If the situation is out of your control, you might as well stick to positive thoughts and feelings. At least it will make you feel calmer and hopeful.

You will be less prone to problems caused due to anger and unnecessary stress.


4. Practice mindfulness.

You're getting anxious about something that's going to happen in the future. Right now, there's no point in worrying about it.

Feelings of irritability can interfere with your happiness and your overall wellbeing.

If you're familiar with the concept of mindfulness, you know how important it is to be in the present moment.

Mindfulness helps you stop worrying when things take longer than expected. By savoring whatever you are doing at the present moment, you can remain calm even when waiting is not easy.

You need to return to the moment. Be aware of what is instead of obsessing about what may happen.

Try this short mindfulness exercise.

Simply sit down and close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath. Try to remain aware of your breath. Focus on a point in your chest, or in your nose where you feel the flow of air.

Whenever your attention strays, bring it back to your breath.

How did that make you feel?

With regular practice of mindfulness, you become able to remain grounded in the present moment and deal with unexpected delays in a calm way.


Waiting for something out of your control can be extremely overwhelming.  It's tempting to just throw up your hands and assume it will never get better.

But patience can make the difference between helplessness and equanimity.

Sometimes you have to simply surrender.

Do not doubt your ability to cope with whatever happens. You're stronger than you think.

Practice patience and live your life with greater tranquillity.



Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash


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