Many great people have believed throughout the ages that patience is a critical asset to cultivate for happiness, health, and success. This is what some great people have said about the virtue of patience.
“Genius is patience.” — Isaac Newton
“A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.” — George Saville
“Patience and fortitude conquer all things.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Genius is eternal patience.” — Michelangelo
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” — Lao Tzu
“He that can have patience can have what he will.” — Benjamin Franklin
“Patience and wisdom walk hand in hand, like two one-armed lovers.” — Jarod Kintz
Our World Is Hooked on Speed
Our self-destructive obsession to live at a frenzied pace is destroying our personal mental and physical health, our families, and society. Also our compulsion to go faster, increase our productivity, and become more efficient has become a global pandemic. We want information, our emotional and physical needs, and commodities delivered immediately. With the advent of technology, we want instantaneous gratification.
My Love-Hate Relationship with Patience
I am working on developing self-compassion especially when it comes to patience. We are not born impatient it is learned from our environment. My father was a very productive, driven, impatient person who drove his children to learn what he believed were the qualities of success. I also have tremendous compassion for his suffering. It was not until after I married, had children and was deep into living my adult life that I realized the damage impatience had inflicted on me, my family and society. Traffic, waiting at doctor’s offices, lines at stores, and telephone holds caused me to pulse with anger and intolerance.
After many years of therapy, incredible teachers, and hard work, I began to enjoy the life-changing fruits of patience. When we moved to our horse farm the animals, land, and nature taught me the sacred, invaluable and life-giving gift of patience. Nursing animals back to health, tending to our garden, tending and then foaling out our pregnant mares, baking, cooking, canning food, and practicing meditation taught me patience. Going back to school, writing my books, teaching students as a professor, all graced me with patience.
Patience is the Path to the Divine, Happiness, and Success
All major religions, spiritualities, and cultures extol the virtue of patience. Patience is not a passive state of doing nothing or just waiting. Patience is a sign of cultivation, authority, wisdom, and power. A person with patience lives confidently and proactively. They have a sense of control of their responses to life. Previous societies saw patience as a gift, an invaluable spiritual practice, and a critical moral virtue. Nobel prize winners, great inventors, creators, CEO’s, illustrious authors, DIY people, and our gifted artists all practice tremendous patience.
Our World Needs Patience, The Forgotten Virtue
We need patience in our world now more than ever. Our overwhelmed world lacks patience, self-control, and reflection as we continue our obsession with technology, 24-hour news, and the growing epidemic of loneliness. Each day we are more stressed, angry, depressed and irritable. The tremendous growth of chronic disease globally is driving our mind, body, and soul to the brink. If each of us had more patience maybe we would have more civil discourse, respect for one another, and kindness in our world.
You Can Learn Patience
Become aware of your level of impatience and how often occurs. On a 1-5 level, how strong are your emotions when you experience impatience? Also become aware of how often you are impatient in your daily life. You learned impatience in your childhood.
What are your triggers? When are you impatient? What are the people, places, and events that trigger your impatience?
Write it down
Writing down this process will let you and others know you really want to develop the virtue of patience. Invite those close to you to support you in this process. It will be an adventure and a review of your life. Become aware of how your impatience developed.
Each time you become impatient, take a few minutes to become aware of your emotional and physical response. Impatience creates a stress response in which your body responds on physical and emotional levels. Is your heart beating faster? Do you feel your jaw clenched? Did you want to push on the gas or hit something? What emotions are you experiencing? Do you feel anger, rage, confusion, or self-hate when you are impatient?
You have developed impatience over your lifetime. Have tremendous compassion for yourself. Treat yourself with kindness, love, understanding, and respect. Explore teachers or literature on self-compassion.
Impatience has been with you since your childhood and is engrained in your brain and thus your behavior. It will take time to rewire your brain’s physical and emotional responses.
When you get impatient, inhale count 1-2-3-4, exhale count 1-2-3-4. Do these 10 times each time you become impatient.
Laugh at yourself
It is physiologically impossible to experience the stress of impatience and laughter at the same time. When you can laugh at your impatience you realize how your awareness is slowly transforming your life.
Lower your expectations of yourself. You are a wonderful gift and this is a long-term journey.
You have all the time in the world
Change your perception of time. Most people say, “I just don’t have enough time.” You have all the time you are supposed to have for everything in your life. Experience time as a glorious gift that expands and contracts according to your mental attitude. Stop living in the pressure cooker you have created for yourself. Time is sacred and your life will be over in a very short time. Cherish each moment with reverent respect and glorious patience.