Patience: A Great Virtue

04/06/2015 02:05 pm ET | Updated Jun 06, 2015

"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

Holding the world around us to unrealistic standards often leads to becoming stressed with impatience. It would be great if there were no traffic jams, no long lines at the airports, at the bank or in grocery stores; losing our patience isn't going to make it any better. The lines will move, passengers will board the plane, clients will complete their transactions, and the cashier at the store will get to you. Life isn't perfect, people aren't perfect, and expecting the world to run smoothly for our convenience and according to our schedules is never going to happen. Be patient and give yourself and others a break! Accepting the twists and turns in our daily life with patience and grace is an invaluable virtue. Keeping our expectations realistic about circumstances and also the behavior of all others around us is also essential for our well-being.

Patience gives us the option to cool down and to extend the grace to ourselves and others in that immediate moment - when we need it most. To be patient means we don't react mindlessly to minor irritations and inconveniences, it gives us the freedom to respond in a more kind and gentle way. Patience has been regarded as one the greatest of virtues in all religions and moral traditions.

Quite often this virtue is essential in dealing with difficulties and difficult people. Patience allows us to be kind to those in a variety of situations and communicate openly to alleviate any misunderstandings and mistrust. The blessing of patience is the freedom to live at our own pace and in our own way. Patience is an extraordinary grace that we extend to others in the most ordinary circumstances. With patience we transcend all the major and minor irritations in our daily lives.

Being patient allows us to keep everything in the right perspective. If we are patient in the midst of all difficult situations, we soon realize that these situations are minor obstacles that we have to accept. Without patience, these scenarios can become unnecessarily overwhelming laced with frustration and anger. These emotions that are detrimental to our well-being and peace of mind.

Patience is the "gatekeeper" between the two worlds of our unconscious impulses and our conscious choices. Patience can close the gate on harmful impulses that are constantly pushing their way up from the layer of hidden conditioned habits and patterns of negative behaviors. Just a little bit of patience goes a long way in breaking our old habits of reacting mindlessly; which leads to many problems. Half of our problems can be eliminated if we are patient with our words and deeds.

When we inculcate a general demeanor of being patient, we gain control of our verbal and physical actions, thus becoming better people. Having patience and self-control means having control over our lives and that is something that produces confidence and strength on its own. We must find ways to practice patience, which in turn enhances self-control, reduces stress, anxiety and anger.

Once we understand that, regardless of our expectations of how long something should take, our efforts should not be focused on time itself, but rather on the actions we can control, without ever forgetting that there is no substitute for time and patience.