Nobody’s perfect, and that means we all do and say things that bother other people—and we definitely have little things about other people that bother us. It’s normal to feel annoyed or frustrated, but when we start holding other people responsible for our own happiness, we need to take a step back and evaluate where we’re placing our focus.
True happiness isn’t the feeling we get from perfect relationships with perfect people. In fact, true happiness isn’t a feeling at all—it’s an outcome. We can create happiness when we choose to love one another and be patient in our responses, even when we’re feeling especially short-tempered.
As followers of Jesus, we have direct instruction to be patient. Ephesians 4:2 tells us, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” If you’re looking for somewhere to start, there are two practical ways you can practice being patient (even when you don’t feel like it!).
Step 1: See the Good in Others
It won’t feel natural, but when you feel yourself getting annoyed or frustrated with someone else, try to pause and shift your mindset to positivity. Learn to see the good in others first rather than the bad. If you train yourself to look for positivity, you’ll lean that way the next time. And seeing the good in others will leave you overall in a more positive, happy mood.
Step 2: Believe the Best in Others
We live in a world driven by perception. And when our outlook is negative, everything we perceive has the potential to be clouded by that negativity. When we’re driving and another person honks at us, it can spark anger. But instead of believing the worst about that person—maybe that they’re rude, mean, or careless—we can choose to believe that maybe they were genuinely worried, confused, or even that it wasn’t done on purpose. When we choose to believe the best in other people, we set ourselves up to live a happier life.
When in doubt, we can always look to Jesus for the greatest example of practicing patience. Despite all we do, he never stops being patient with us. "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." (Romans 5:8).
To hear more about the power of patience, watch our message Giving Happiness Away from our series How Happiness Happens.