According to Wikipedia, patience at its core is a decision-making issue relating to the preference of instant versus┬álong-term rewards. The question is simple – does one persevere and receive an often valuable, long-term reward or does one go for the quick fix and get an instant, but probably less valuable, reward?

Growing up I, always in a hurry, was often told to slow down. Closing my eyes I can hear my parent’s voices ” Stop pushing so hard” and ” Patience is a virtue”. Today, I hear it still, but it is my voice saying it to myself and to my children! How ironic, the circle of life!

Why is it so hard to be patient?

To me patience has been, and still is, an enormous challenge. A challenge I face, and fight, every day. Some days with more harmony than others!

Every aspect of life requires patience. Growing up, going to school, forming solid, lasting relationships, having and raising children, growing older, pursuing careers….the list is long.

  • Patience is enduring love; experience is perfecting love; and hope is exulting love. (Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895))

Marriage and relationships, exhilarating as they may be, are not easy. They require, on top of a strong loving base, intimacy, understanding, independence, freedom, togetherness, compromise and a willingness to grow, to learn, to forgive and to accept. For two people to remain connected through life, be it friendship or marriage, requires tremendous patience.

Next time you are feeling yourself struggling, wanting to give up, run away, shout, try to remember what brought this person into your life. Remember what they give your life on a good day. Think about the issue you face and why you are about to explode – take a few steps back from the situation and gain a new perspective. Is it so bad? Is your way really the right one? Find the solution together – communicate – be patient!

  • You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for
    instance (Franklin P. Jones)

I would love to meet the parent or grand parent who has never lost their patience when faced with a very determined, potentially slightly naughty (in their eyes anyway), child! It is sometimes unbearably difficult to maintain the calm, to stay the adult, to not “lose it”.

School holidays ring a bell? Your child finding a box of pens and drawing on your newly decorated walls maybe? The third cup of milk spilt on the table at breakfast when, we all know, time is of essence? The refusal to brush teeth?

The oldest, and very useful, tool to calm yourself in these situations is to turn around and count to ten, SLOWLY! When done, if you are still not calm, step away. Nothing you will do in a state of rage will be of any use to yourself or the child. Once you have collected yourself, return to the “crime scene”, explain to the child why you are upset and work it out together. Seeing you back in control and determined will often be enough to ensure a smooth solution.

Finally – pick your battles! By letting children win sometimes you give them some satisfaction and respect. It is not easy being small after all!

  • I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end (Margaret Thatcher)

Thatcher, whether you agreed with her politics or not, provides an interesting perspective! Some may think that being patient also means being less succesful, achieving less but that is not necessarily so. Often, the loud-mouthed, arrogant people who push forward hard, stepping on you as they go, in time self destruct.

Set your goals, know your target, absolutely. Very important. Once you know where you are headed, knuckle down, be respectful to those around you and persevere. You will come out on top and with a lot of supporters too!

On a closing note, probably my favourite quote on patience.

  • Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew (Saint Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622))

It is very important to remember that we are all here to learn and grow. We start life with a clean slate and as we face challenges along the way we become stronger. We get to know ourselves. The beauty of getting older is that you start to see yourself more clearly, good and bad. This is when you then make the choice to patiently better yourself. It is hard, yes, but the long-term rewards are brilliant!

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