Understanding Patience & What It Means To Be Patient

Imagine a child waiting their parents to buy them the latest video game console. He knows what day it comes out and knows he’s going to get it. All he has to do is wait two weeks. He feels anxious. He nags his mother and starts acting out in frustration in school. But he’s reserved the console and paid for it. He just has to show up to the store and pick it up. So why is he acting this way?

Most of us tend to think of patience as waiting or the ability to wait. The boy has to wait. Nothing he does will make the game come out any faster. If patience is waiting, how is the boy impatient if he’s waiting? No. Patience is our conduct when we are made to wait or persevere. A person who is patient is calm, collected, tolerant, understanding, compassionate and appreciates that life is often not a smooth ride. A impatient person is impulsive, complains a lot and is judgmental of others.

Patience is virtue But many great individuals throughout history have made statements that patience is not as virtuous at it seems.

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them. - William Arthur Ward

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. - Abraham Lincoln.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank.

To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don't wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. – Alen Cohen.

These quotes seem to rebel against patience painting it as a vice and not a virtue. If not for those who are impatient wouldn’t the world be a much poorer place? Many of the heroes that we admire didn’t choose to wait and merely persevere. They leapt into action and left their mark. However, majority of them were patient in their struggles. Martin Luther King did not help end segregation in America in a day. He waited and persevered, even being imprisoned, slandered and eventually murdered for his beliefs. But the threat to life never stopped him. He had a dream and fought for it. He understood the difference between patience and complacency.

Sometimes we’re in a position that all the chips aren’t on our table. We believe that we at least have control over our actions but are occasionally put in situations where our actions become irrelevant to the outcome. In times like these we must search for the strength that lies inside of us. You just have to accept the situation and retain your composure. When the load seems too heavy to hold you will find in yourself the strength to bear it. Whether you are a person of faith or not, remember these words from the Noble Quran, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.” Face the hardships of life by doing as the Buddah taught, “Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth.”

Do not be eager. Do not be complacent. Be patient.