It sounds a bit old fashioned in this super fast-moving world, where everything is seemingly available at the click of a mouse, to say that patience is a virtue.
Is there really something to be said for waiting patiently- isn’t that a bit too passive? Shouldn’t we be creating our own destiny and making things happen?
In fact, I think there’s no contradiction between being determined and focused, and also being patient. For me, patience isn’t about waiting for something to fall into your lap, but about accepting that sometimes things take time.
Impatience is also often a subtle form of self sabotage. When something doesn’t work or change immediately, we have the perfect excuse to give up. Impatience or frustration can also often lead to us making the wrong decision, feeling that it’s better to settle for something we know deep down is wrong, rather than trust enough to wait for something better.
If you explore what lies behind your feelings of impatience and frustration it’s often fear. Fear of missing out, or of being judged, or of being overwhelmed with things to do. When you catch yourself feeling impatient, challenge those feelings. What will happen if you have to wait another few minutes in this queue? How bad would that really be?
Patience is a virtue I think- not that it’s somehow morally superior but that it can help you to live a more balanced life.
How to be patient
Notice the feelings arising, and take the opportunity to step back from them. Breathe and use the delay to notice what is happening both inside and out. You might even end up feeling better for the short pause in your day.
If you’re having to be patient with an ongoing life situation, try to stop projecting forward into the future, when things will be different. Break down what you have to do into little steps and focus on one at a time. Try not to attach to the outcome. This doesn’t mean being passive, or giving up, but just focusing all your energy into where you are and what you have to do right now, and letting the eventual outcomes take care of themselves.
Ultimately developing patience isn’t about being passive, but about truly taking control of the only thing you really can control- how you respond to what life throws at you.
That can also take patience, but as St Francis de Sales said, ‘Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.’