Is patience a virtue?
The technical definition of patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset,” according to Google. The word “virtue” in its own right means “of high moral ground.”
Does that mean being patient is a moral obligation?
If so, I’m fucked.
Patience has eluded me for years, becoming more distant over time, like besties from grade school that grew apart. I try and try to be friends with patience, and we just cannot get along. Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way.
Maybe having patience doesn’t mean staying still.
Maybe having patience does not mean we are giving up.
Maybe having patience does not mean we are hopeless.
Maybe patience is not what we think it is.
I used to think patience was for losers. Waiting around for life to happen is not something I do — I go out and take what I want. I do not wait. I’m a winner. It’s taken me this long to realize the ultimate truth:
Patience is not waiting — it’s understanding.
Understanding that life cannot and will not be controlled. Life doesn’t care how badly you “want it”. The more you try to control, the more you become controlled.
This realization blew my mind. I had been so certain that I could control the universe. How foolish of me.
Patience is not laziness. Patience does not mean you have to wait for life to happen to you, nor should you.
Patience is not losing your mind when things don’t go your way. Hell, I get impatient at red traffic lights while driving. It doesn’t ever feel good, and I tend to be quite grumpy afterward.
It’s cute for me to sit here and preach, knowing that I’m a complete hypocrite.
But what if I spent my energy on listening to the song playing instead of getting frustrated at a red light? I bet I wouldn’t have ruined my day if I had had patience.
Brene Brown, American professor, author, and vulnerability oracle calls this emotional freedom: “Always, emotional freedom involves choosing where you put your attention.”
So simple. Like patience. Patience is so much more than emotional freedom. Patience is a skill you can learn.
Patience is an opportunity for you to prepare for greatness.
I learned this the hard way, like I have with most life lessons, when I wrote my first book of poetry. As I submitted to a few publishers and agents, I wasn’t waiting by my phone in suspense for their call. I kept myself sane by updating my website, building my mailing list, and learning everything I could about marketing. I wasn’t going to wait at the red light and focus on that — rather, I would focus on being patient and distract myself with work.
Figure out what you can do right now to further your dreams and turn them into reality. Set the groundwork.
Gary Clark Jr., blues musician, says it best in his album Bright Lights: “I’ll be ready when my train pulls in.”
Patience is a beautiful and complex experience that can feel like the deepest sorrow and the greatest satisfaction in one. Patience will make you crazy until the day that everything makes sense.
So maybe having patience can be an opportunity.
Maybe having patience isn’t a virtue you have to wait for, but something you choose.
Maybe having patience is emotional freedom.
You don’t need to sit on your hands to be patient — in fact, get the fuck up already. What are you waiting for? I intend to be ready when my train pulls in.