What Ever Happened To Patience?

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By Myrna Conrad

We live in such a fast-paced world today. Technology has made things so much easier and faster, while at the same time made us expect quick results for almost everything. We expect instant gratification. We have become less and less tolerant of waiting in line for anything. We don’t want to wait in restaurants. We don’t even like long “fast food” lines. We try to find the quickest looking checkout line and change lines if it looks like it will not get us out of the store fast enough. We get behind a slow driver and can feel our anxiety rising. We either honk at them, or try to go around them, sometimes even when it could put ourselves or others in danger. Our laptops are too slow; deliveries are too slow; our device streaming is too slow; our appliances are too slow; promotions at work are too slow, and often it is slow people that irritate us the most.

We have become so impatient that we are willing to pay more for speed. We are willing to pay more for next day delivery. We pay more at Disney World for a fast pass so we don’t have to wait in line as long. We pay to have a higher speed internet. We pay to use the commuter lane on our highways. There is a lot of money spent yearly on the newest method to lose weight quickly, and we are willing to pay high interest rates to get what we want now instead of saving to buy it later.

Impatience leads to stress, anger, shorter attention spans, unhappiness, missed opportunities, and damaged relationships.

We are told that patience is important and that everything worthwhile requires time and effort. Most people that have reached their goals in life have had to practice patience. An athlete does not become a winner without a lot of time and work. Great leaders had to work hard and learn skills that led to their positions. Parenting well requires quality time and an enormous amount of patience. Great marriages take time, hard work and patience with each other.

Patience has many more benefits than impatience. It relieves stress and replaces it with peace. Patience gives us the opportunity to pay attention to what is happening around us. It gives us time to think, to observe, and to appreciate. Patience leads to better decisions, closer relationships and opportunities that we might otherwise miss.

Patience is something we have to choose to develop and practice.

Do you want to practice more patience? Here are a few strategies:

Be Aware:
Learn to recognize the signs of your impatience. Be aware when your anxiety starts to rise.
Choose to believe that most delays have a reason and often it is for your protection or for a better opportunity at a later time.
Realize that the stress that you experience from impatience is a lot worse for you than the benefits that you can experience from waiting.
Think about which has cost you more, impatience or patience.
Realize that impatience is not going to make things happen any faster.

Be Intentional:
Start your morning early enough to give yourself time to get ready for your day within a comfortable time frame. Starting your morning in a rush often leads to impatience throughout your day.
Always give yourself time for delays in your schedule. Build in time for possible delays.
When you find yourself losing patience, take a few deep breaths and think of something positive that might come from your wait.

While waiting, whether in a line, on the road, on the phone, for an appointment, in the office or at home, focus on what is going on around you. Talk more to those who are also waiting; observe and see if there are ways you can help others. If you believe in prayer, pray for those around you. Think of all the things in your day you are thankful for. Think of something nice you can do for those you love.

Learn to laugh at interruptions.

Patience starts with you! You alone can decide whether you want to react with patience or impatience. Choosing patience will benefit you and those around you.

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