Our world doesn’t lend itself to patience.
Social media and fast food deliver quick dopamine hits, Amazon Prime delivers anything within a day, and Google answers any question I could possibly have.
It’s not surprising then that I expect immediate results for everything else, most of all healing.
How does one cultivate patience, and more importantly: how does one cope in the meantime?
“Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”
– Fulton J. Sheen
It’s easy to think of patience as ‘staying put’, waiting in the shadows for our turn.
I’ve written about Peck’s understanding that delaying gratification can avoid suffering.
When we jump the gun, we might act on unprocessed, hot emotions. This hurts us first.
It’s a skill to keep our cards guarded, our lips sealed and our plans secret.
Taking the time to assess the situation, we are much more likely to succeed.
“Why is patience so important?”
“Because it makes us pay attention.”
– Paulo Coelho
A year ago, I mused that patience and distraction are synonymous.
I found it easiest to be patient when I had other things on my mind.
Waiting for a reply for instance is best done when our thoughts are otherwise preoccupied.
But even then, isn’t a part of us still engaged? Waiting for a ping, eyeing our screen?
When we make ourselves wait, we are more present.
Instead of just listening to our impulse, we take into account everything around us.
“I am extraordinarily patient,
provided I get my own way in the end.”
– Margaret Thatcher
Part of what makes patience so hard is the uncertainty.
We are itching to make sure we get our dues, to make sure we are heard and seen.
I forget that people and circumstances are beyond me once I have given it my best.
Worrying about something is not going to change the outcome.
And maybe patience is finding peace with the fact that sometime things are out of our control.