The Virtue of Patience

Is it ironic that it took me almost 3 weeks to find out the time and the words to create this piece? Maybe. Or maybe it was just a test to see if I was truly ready to bring this piece to life. I’d say I passed. I am here writing it, aren’t I?

I am often asked, “how do you do it?”, with reference to my forbearance in life. I am still not used to the frequency of that question. I frown my eyebrows wondering why do people find wonder in something as mundane as the quality to stay calm. Is it not as common a practice as I think it to be? I guess not. Otherwise, this question wouldn’t always stare me in the face.

And then I ask people, “how do you not?”

Around 5 years ago, one of my classmates from college gave me a compliment. It wasn’t delivered in the nicest packaging but I chose to keep it. “You’re so patient with everything. It’s annoying.” For a while, I let my mind giggle at the contradiction of that statement. But after that I thanked her.

But in those 5 years, I have been asked this question quite a few times. And I guess that just kind of forced me to answer it. For my own self, if not for those asking it. And I have settled on two major answers.

I don’t hold the world up to unrealistic standards

I do not believe that the developers of a software deserve to be abused if an application takes 10 seconds longer to load on my phone. You will not see me continuously ask the vendor how much longer for my plate of momos because I know cooking takes its own sweet time. I don’t honk when the light turns green because I know that the machines we ride in take time to start. And I don’t just lose my temper over anything because I am aware that I do not know what the person next to me is enduring.

My mind does not expect the world around me to function with the same definitions as me. I want to stroll when someone else wants to run. What’s wrong in that? Why would they alter their plans to run because I don’t want to? I don’t think the world is obligated to grant my needs. I appreciate anyone and everyone who offers to do any kind of service for me. But I don’t think that that binds them under any sort of obligation.

I was raised with delayed gratification

Never in my life has it happened that I asked for something and I received it instantly (read: in less than two months). It doesn’t matter who I was askingmy family, friends, or the universeif my wish was granted, it was always delayed. And I enjoyed the wait. Given the imaginative mind I have, I dedicated the time to create scenarios where I would co-exist with whatever I had asked for and the ones where I wouldn’t. This also helped me be prepared for all possibilities.

And I guess, that kind of just stuck. Waiting comes naturally to me. Do I always like it? Well, let’s just say I won’t be a fan of you if you keep me looking at my watch. But, I wouldn’t lose my temper over it.

The follow-up question

You know how conversations with the self take an unexpected direction? Mine did too. And while I arrive on these answers, there is another road calling out to me. I have been asked how I am so patient but never why. I think that’s a more important question. Don’t you?

So, I gave my mind the liberty to pen down ways as to why patience is an important virtue to have.

“Patience is power. Paitence is not the 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

Okay, maybe that is a little too philosophical but

patience makes your actions better.

It gives you time to think, analyze, and create.

Patience saves your mental energy for things that do truly need them.

It is your window to understand the world. Patience builds up your confidence and your skills.

And it makes you feel good.

Patience builds persistence.

It evokes compassion.

And it, eventually, answers all the questions.

So, I think patience is a pretty great virtue to have. It makes you a better human being and I guess that’s the whole point.

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