Whoever said ‘Patience is a virtue’ knew what he was talking about. Learn the importance of patience and how keeping it can affect and transform your relationships for the better.
I once heard a story of a spiritual teacher. On announcing a spiritual workshop over the weekend, he found many people flooding his garden early morning on a bright sunny day. He looked at the crowd and announced that he wasn’t feeling well. He asked if it would be okay if he postponed the workshop to the coming weekend? The crowd agreed unanimously and went back. However, the teacher again announced he wasn’t well the next weekend. He kept doing so for many many weekends, and slowly the number of people began to diminish. Finally on the fifth consecutive weekend he looked at the handful people who had been coming every weekend and said – “You are the true seekers of spiritual knowledge, for you are the most patient ones of the lot. Knowledge favors those who are patient.”; and he conducted the workshop for those handful people.
How many of you liked what the spiritual teacher did? And how many were enraged and felt like the spiritual teacher was being unreasonable? This article is for the latter group of readers. Many a time we under-estimate the importance of patience in life. This article, I hope, will convince you otherwise.
Why Do People Lack Patience?
Persons dealing with impatient people in their lives on a daily basis must have wondered at least at some point of time – why is he/she so impatient? Rather than those who face such a situation, it is the people who lack patience that should be asking this question to themselves… why am I so impatient? Most of us feel like our patience is being tested when we do not get what we want, when we have to wait to get what we want. Our patience is put to test the most, and most significantly too, under such circumstances.
However, keeping patience in our daily tasks and pursuits, and in relationships are two different things. Relationships call more for endurance rather than patience. Patience in relationships means being patient and forgiving about the other person’s follies, mistakes and short-comings. Patience is required to deal with your differences and your seeming incompatibilities. We find ourselves losing our patience when we expect a certain level of understanding, intellect, intelligence, maturity from different people we deal with and we do not see it.
Be Patient, Not Dormant!
Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice. – George Jackson
The next time you lose your patience over someone, just take a moment to stop and think – is losing my patience right now and fighting with the person in front of me worth the fight? Is it worth the hurt and pain that we are both going to inflict upon each other in the process? Have I tried hard enough and am I really at the end of my patience? Most of the time, we let our lack of patience get the better of us, and in the process lose a person who was much more dear to us than the issue over which we lost our patience. Hurts like hell, believe me.
However, if the answer to most of the above questions is ‘yes’, then it won’t be undue of you to blow the lid off. Many people regard a display of frustration or anger as a weakness and a vice. But tell me – if you cannot even voice your frustration and vent it in your own home, where then is the outlet for your feelings? Your frustration, anger, pain, hurt are all as much a part of you as your romantic side, your kindness, your sense of humor and your compassion. Do not be ashamed of it. Do not shy away from admitting it either. But don’t let it go out of hand. Patience is a virtue, yes. But if the person in question does not show any sign of acknowledging it, it is time to walk away; and without bearing the guilt. You cannot be the only one trying to make things work.
… in Romantic Relationships
Patience is the best remedy for every trouble. – Titus Maccius Plautus
Lack of patience in romantic relationship deals mainly with being at ease with each others ‘seeming’ faults and shortcomings. I say ‘seeming’ because many a time the traits of your lover’s personality that are beginning to itch and scratch are in fact, those you were perfectly okay with until a while ago. This happens when we take people for granted and expect them to change to suit our needs. This is not a totally unreasonable expectation given two things – one that you are willing to do the same for the other person, and two that the trait in question affects you as a couple. If your boyfriend does not keep his music CDs and DVDs organized, that should not create a problem (unless he comes in and messes your room!). If your girlfriend cannot help impulse shopping, that does not mean you should taunt her about it all the time (unless you pay all her bills!). If you communicate yourself and your needs and expectations from the relationship clearly with your lover, and if you both agree to change and make things work, there won’t be a situation where your patience will be put to test in the first place. Why don’t you give it a try?
… as a Parent
A wise parent humors the desire for independent action, so as to become the friend and adviser when his absolute rule shall cease. – Elizabeth Gaskell
Being a parent is a real test of patience, or so many parents say! The situations in your life that will try your patience as a parent the most are two – the learning phases of your child, and the growing up phase. The learning phase requires a lot of patience, as your child learns ‘A for A-A-Apple’, and most parents succeed in this. However, it is the growing up phase where parents lose it. The simplest way to keep patience at such times is to have faith in your own up-bringing; to have faith in your children and let them be ‘individuals’ and not just your kids; and to never ever forget, that you were back there, in their place too, once upon a time! Let your child err, let them make mistakes. Do not lose your cool if they ask questions – their questions do not mean to overthrow your authority; they are only being curious. Do not snub it out. Lack of patience on your part for the questions your child asks is going to make your child grow up full of self-doubt and insecurities. Avoid it. Develop independent thinking, reasoning and decision-making in your child, but do not lose your patience if your child uses these qualities while dealing with you! Reason out, be logical, and make them see your point, instead of using force.
… as an Individual
Everything comes to him who waits. – English Proverb
The key to keeping patience while going about living your life as a person, as an individual is simple – come hell or high water, remember that lack of patience is going to boomerang on you! No one has the time to deal with your tantrums and frustrations, no matter how hard, rude or cruel that sounds. So shrug it off! Would you have learned how to reverse parallel-park your car if you hadn’t been patient? Would you have learned how to speak Spanish if you hadn’t been enduring? Great feats and accomplishments need a lot of patience, endurance and perseverance too. And then just stop a moment and think – is you losing your cool and throwing a fit going to solve the problem? Then why do it? There is no point losing patience over things you have no control over. Instead learn to look at things lightly. Laugh over your problems. Do things that will take your frustration away.
Dealing with negative emotions like lack of patience is not so difficult – all it needs is practice, and a little bit of patience! Lack of patience leads to frustration and anger beyond our imagination. Learn about anger management and deal with the situation. Take charge of things before they take over you! Finally, thank you for being patient enough to read such a long article! Adios!