"Patience is a noble virtue, and, when rightly exercised, does not fail of its reward" -- George Washington
Perhaps you have heard the impatient man's prayer. It goes something like this: "Lord, I need patience, and I need it right now!"
This "prayer" is a reminder that many of us forget patience and instead get irritated very quickly over minor things like a traffic jam, slowed computer response, noisy neighbors and such things. But how does getting irritated or upset help the situation? It actually makes an already disagreeable or stressful situation worse.
Patience is the "gatekeeper" between the two worlds of our unconscious impulses and our conscious choices. Patience can close the gate on harmful impulses that are constantly pushing their way up from layers of hidden conditioned habits or patterns. Reactive, mindless behaviors try to take over and are sure to bring harm to our relationships and our health. I honestly believe if we are patient enough to take few seconds of our time before we speak or act, about half of arguments and unpleasantness can be prevented.
Sometimes, in our relationships, we become defensive or irritated, and then say something that hurts others. In that moment, we do not realize the importance of patience and end up making hasty decisions about what to say. I suggest that whenever you feel defensive, try to be patient enough to take time to think over another person's positive qualities.
Patience is something which must be learned and practiced. It isn't something which comes naturally to us. We know people who master patience become more successful than those who can't. Patience is like a muscle that needs to be used in order become stronger. If we don't use it, we tend to lose it. It starts with attitude. What is our attitude towards waiting? How patient are we? If we can wait just a few seconds longer each time, the habit becomes stronger. If we learn to have patience, or can muster at least a little of it, the time we wait doesn't seem so bad. If we lose our patience muscle or don't have any in the first place, we end up becoming cranky, upset, emotional and otherwise unhappy. With patience we become more mindful of others. Practicing mindfulness gives us the option to cool down and to extend the grace of patience to ourselves and others.
Patience helps us build empathy towards others and allows us to accept other people the way they are, making us a more tolerant. It helps us to see the situation in a more compassionate light. When we approach a situation with less stress and more empathy, we are exercising compassion to ourselves and others.
As I have grown older and gained more experience in life I have realized patience is one of the best virtues to have. Here are some ways how patience can become one of our greatest assets.
1. Patience helps us avoid making impulsive decisions and helps with self-control and calmness.
2. Patience helps us to become more tolerant.
3. Patience helps us build empathy towards others.
4. Patience allows us to live in the moment and appreciate what we have.
5. Patience teaches us humility.
Patience truly is a virtue that is worth developing, and I've seen it benefit me with tolerance, mindfulness and happier responses to life's little jams.