Posted by: nmontague | June 15, 2010

Patience through Experience

I’ve been working on a virtue each week to try to develop those attributes in myself. Some weeks are better than others. This week, I’ve chosen to work on Patience. I’ve found myself losing my temper and getting impatient very easily. So I’ve been thinking about it alot and studying it a bit.

Patience is a rare virtue in our modern society. We have a culture where we demand instant gratification. Domestic Violence and Road Rage are far too common. People lose hundreds of thousands of dollars every year because they want to get rich quick instead of patiently working hard and making wise investments. We need money NOW. We need relationships NOW. We need to get where we are going NOW. And if we don’t get it now, we are going to get pissed off or find something we can get now.

But we live in the real world. And if we want to be grounded in it, we need to realize that we don’t get everything we want NOW. As a general rule, we don’t lose 50lbs in a week, we don’t become millionaires overnight, and the people around us don’t do what we need or want them to do in a timely manner. If we don’t stay grounded in this reality, we are going to end up being miserable people because we won’t reach many of our goals, we won’t be very respected by those around us, and we will be ruled by our passions and appetites.

King Solomon mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, that everything has it’s time and season. We need to become a people who recognizes that again and not so much an instant gratification culture. We need to build patience. The best definition I’ve found for Patience is The Capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious.

How do we do that? Only with practice. We can only become patient by experiencing life. By training ourselves in the moment. That, of course, is difficult to do. But it’s necessary to learn if we want to truly be happy in this life and if we want to do something to change our lives, the lives of those we love, or in the community around us. Great journeys and accomplishments don’t start by making huge leaps at one moment. They start with a single step which is repeated patiently until the goal is met.

Challenges:

1) Watch for moments in your life when you are feeling impatient. These are usually when we feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. What is can we do to allieviate these feelings?

2) Is there something you want right now? Ask yourself if this is something you need, or just want. Prioritize what’s important to you and focus on them.

3) When you find yourself waiting with nothing to do, find something to do to distract you from the need to wait. Study vocabulary or another language. Review things in your mind or just enjoy the world around you.

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