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Patience in interracial interactions

Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 4.19

Do you feel stress during interracial interactions? Cultivating patience can help. Patience is a virtue that we can grow with intention. In this episode, Dr. Sarah Schnitker shares three tips for building your patience.



Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Lori] Hello and welcome to Two for You. Today we welcome Doctor Sarah Schnitker from Baylor University, the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, to talk with us about patience. So Sarah, welcome, and why is patience important?

[Sarah] Thank you for having me Lori. Patience, though not very popular. As you're starting to work on  … our research shows over and over again. And it's really important not only for our individual well-being, but also creating a good culture and society and strong interpersonal relationships. And we are even  finding in our work that it can help facilitate more positive interracial interaction.

So sometimes, when people come to an interracial interaction, there's a lot of negative emotion, like anxiety of fear, maybe anger that leads to defensiveness can go horribly as you know. But by cultivating patience, we might facilitate that to go a little bit better and to be able to stick with it long term and actually lead to real change and how we engage with each other.

[Lori] Yeah. So you said cultivate, is patience something we can grow?

[Sarah] Yes, that is an exciting part of research shows you're not just born with it and anyone who's been around a kid knows that. So its something we need to teach, even teach ourselves. So there's three steps would you like to talk about? Identify, imagine, and sync. So you want to identify what you're feeling and why. Is it fear anger, sadness? What do you feel in the moment? Don't suppress it. Let it be and just name it.

And then we want to imagine that the situation in a new way. So maybe taking other person's perspective, maybe engaging in a little bit of mental time travel, thinking about what the benefits will be if we can persist through this tough interaction. Really imagine and reappraise in that way.

And then finally, last but not least, is we want to sync with our purpose. Know why it is we, why am I doing this thing that's not easy. That I care about my community. I care about an equitable society. I care about loving other people. So finding that big picture, why that purpose will help you to be motivated to keep going even when it feels hard and not to just give up or explode, which is to stick with that interaction.

[Lori] I love those. So thank you for sharing the importance of patience and for all of us remember to identify, imagine, and sync this month as you live and lead with intention.

Authors: Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme, former Extension educators

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