There’s a phrase I hear more and more as I get older. Still single? Just be patient. Still waiting for your business to grow? Just be patient. Sometimes living in your late 20’s is like being surrounded by broken records of people just telling you to be patient. However, there are many benefits of patience in life.
Yet patience is essential to daily life—and might be key to a happy one. Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity, so anywhere there is frustration or adversity—i.e., nearly everywhere—we have the opportunity to practice it. At home with our kids, at work with our colleagues, at the grocery store with half our city’s population, patience can make the difference between annoyance and equanimity, between worry and tranquility.
Religions and philosophers have long praised the virtue of patience; now, researchers are starting to do so as well. Recent studies have found that, sure enough, good things really do come to those who wait. Some of these science-backed benefits are detailed below, along with three ways to cultivate more patience in your life.
What is the Meaning of Patience?
When I googled the meaning of patience, it said, “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” It never ceases to amaze me that a few words can be used to define a concept that’s so difficult to practice at times. What does patience mean to you?
To me, it means that I stop myself from getting upset or worked up over minor things, as I was about to in the opening paragraph. It also means that I wait for things without complaining or trying to hurry them up.
At any rate, patience falls under the category of “the right thing is not always easy.”
Why is Patience a Virtue?
Before we get into the benefits of being patient or why patience is a virtue, let’s back up a bit. What is virtue anyway? Before we can expand on why patience is a virtue, we have to know what virtue is.
Simply put, a virtue is behavior showing high moral standards. So does patience show a high moral standard? Yes, it does. Patience is an exercise in self-control.
Is Just Being Patient In Life Important?
Patience is very important in life. In today’s modern age, most of us can get annoyed pretty easily. (raises hand Yes, I’m guilty!) It might be a traffic jam; it might be being interrupted for the millionth time, it may be getting re-directed 5 times when you are trying to find a real customer service person to speak to instead of a recording. Most of the time, these are minor things.
One of the many benefits of just being patient is that patience helps us to make better decisions. Patience is the pause that helps us get our thoughts back in order and our feelings under control. It gives us the persistence to carry out things that will lead us to a long-term goal and helps us realize that success will come to those who keep trying.
Another benefit to being patient is that it helps preserve our relationships with those that we care about.
How Does Patience Help You Succeed?
Patience is a huge factor in success because good things take time.
When I started blogging, I realized that I would get better with time. I knew that it was going to be full of skills that I would learn along the way, and with practice, I would improve. I had patience. My first year of blogging may not have been all that impressed with the numbers, but by golly, I would not give anything for the journey and what I learned.
According to entreprenuer.com, “Patience radically increases your capacity for success.” It helps us lay aside frustration, which can lead to quitting; it helps us think more positively and make better decisions, as well as help, build our reputations.
What are the Benefits of Being Patient?
Being patient gives you many benefits. Here are my top 10 benefits to being patient!
Benefit of Being Patient #1: Helps Focus on Long Term Goals
Back in December, I did a review of the Slay Your Goals Planner that I purchased and am still using. Before the year even began, I was thinking about my long-term goals, and how to get there.
Here’s the thing– I knew they were not going to happen overnight. In fact, much of the reason I bought the planner in the first place was to help me break down my goals. When I have a minor setback or something doesn’t work the way that I planned, I can have the patience to say, “that’s ok. I’ll try something else.” One of the benefits of being patient is that it helps you set and achieve your long terms goals.
Benefit of Patience #2: Make More Rational Choices
This is a major benefit to being patient. When you are overcome with emotion, you are not going to make very good choices. Your brain can’t think straight – all it sees is the emotion that you are feeling which is temporarily overriding your rational thinking.
That’s why I needed a time-out. Being patient allowed me to make a more rational and mindful choice about how to react.
Benefit of Patience #3: Builds our Reputation for Persistence
No one likes a quitter. If I am going to do business with someone or have interactions with someone, I want to know that they are going to be around for the long haul. One of the benefits of being patient is that it builds your reputation for persistence, which in turn, generates trust.
Benefit of Being Patient #4: Makes You a People Magnet!
Yet another benefit of being patient is that it makes people attracted to you. If you are a patient person, they will want to deal with you more than they will someone blows their top when they get mad. We all make mistakes from time to time. People will want to talk to someone that will be patient with their mistakes, especially if they are trying to learn and develop a skill set.
Benefit of Patience #5: Better Mental Health
When you are not patient, that’s when worry tends to set in. Worrying too much is not good for your mental health. If you are constantly going “what if” you are not enjoying the things that are. Most things that we have to be patient for are not things that can be hurried along. Better mental health is one of the benefits of patience because while you are waiting, you rest instead of feeling like a coiled-up spring inside.
Benefit of Being Patient #6: Better Physical Health
People that have patience usually enjoy better physical health as well as mental health. The more I research the more I find that the two seem to be linked. It makes sense. If I don’t feel well, it affects my mental state and my outlook on life. When you cultivate positive thoughts, it makes your physical health better as well. Thus, one of the benefits of being patient is better physical health as well.
When you are impatient, you stress more about things. Stress has been linked to things such as heart disease, as well as things like ulcers and high blood pressure, and stomach issues.
Benefit of patience #7: It’s a Way to Practice Kindness (Which makes You Feel Good Too!)
Being patient can be hard! Sometimes it seems like I struggle with it daily. However, do you remember that I said that one of the benefits of being patient was that it made you a people magnet? There is a reason for that: being patient is a way that you can practice kindness. When my kids were toddlers, my patience experienced a growth spurt. It had to! There were a million little requests and it seemed like I could not go 15 minutes without interruption unless they were napping.
Think about it from a child’s point of view
You can’t get a drink, so you ask Mom, who you love and adore and quite literally look up to if you can have a drink. She gives you a big cup. But it takes her a minute, so while you are waiting you notice that the tiles on the ground are squares in a pattern. Let’s jump on the squares! Jump! Jump! Crash! Right into Mom who spills water all over your head and on the floor. You didn’t mean to bump into her.
Mom has two choices: she can yell at you and get mad, or she can have patience and say “Oops! You were jumping and bumped into me. Your glass was full of water and it spilled right on your head! Is it cold? Let’s get a towel and clean up this mess, then I will fix you another glass of water.”
Which is the kinder choice? Notice I did not say the “easiest choice” or the “most common choice.” Often times the right thing and the kind thing is not the easiest thing, but it is always worth doing anyway. As a mother, I always felt better when I made the kinder choice and had patience.
Benefit of Patience #8: It can Bring You Peace
I feel much more at peace when I practice patience. When I am impatient, all it does is bring about discontent. It makes me feel on edge, I do not enjoy the time that I am waiting, or I can get very discouraged if what I am waiting for is a challenging situation to pass. I think the peace it brings to my heart and to my life is one of the best benefits of being patient there is.
Benefit of Being Patient #9: It’s a Way to Practice Faith
God’s time is not always our time. ( Which is annoying.) I pray and I ask God for what I want and I want it NOW! Kind of reminds you of that toddler I talked about asking for a drink earlier, doesn’t it? There is a toddler inside all of us that wants things now! Often we change our minds about what we want as often as that toddler too.
However, that’s not how it works. Psalms 40:1 says “I waited PATIENTLY for the Lord; and he inclined unto me and heard my cry.” That one word is a kicker, isn’t it? It is for me. It does away with my impatient cries of “NOW!!!” If you are praying for something and it’s not happening, know that you are practicing faith in patiently waiting for the Lord.
Three ways to cultivate patience
This is all good news for the natural patient. Or for those who have the time and opportunity to take intensive two-week training in patience. But what about the rest of us?
It seems there are everyday ways to build patience as well. Here are some strategies suggested by emerging patience research.
- Reframe the situation. Feeling impatient is not just an automatic emotional response; it involves conscious thoughts and beliefs, too. If a colleague is late to a meeting, you can fume about their lack of respect. Or see those extra 15 minutes as an opportunity to get some reading done. Patience is linked to self-control, and consciously trying to regulate our emotions can help us train our self-control muscles.
- Practice mindfulness. In one study, kids who did a six-month mindfulness program in school became less impulsive and more willing to wait for a reward. The GGSC’s Christine Carter also recommends mindfulness practice for parents: Taking a deep breath and noticing your feelings of anger or overwhelm (for example, when your kids start yet another argument right before bedtime) can help you respond with more patience.
- Practice gratitude. In another study, adults who were feeling grateful were also better at patiently delaying gratification. When given the choice between getting an immediate cash reward or waiting a year for a larger ($100). Windfall, less grateful people caved in once the immediate payment offer climbed to $18. Grateful people, however, could hold out until the amount reached $30. If we’re thankful for what we have today, we’re not desperate for more stuff or better circumstances immediately.
We can try to shelter ourselves from frustration and adversity, but they come with the territory of being human. Practicing patience in everyday situations—like with our punctuality-challenged coworkers—will not only make life more pleasant in the present but might also help pave the way for a more satisfying and successful future.
Patience Quotes to Remember (And Repeat to Yourself When You are Struggling.)
Patience is a virtue, but it’s not an easy one. If you struggle to have patience, then you are not alone. I am right there with you. Next week’s post will be specific techniques to use to increase your patience. Until then, here are a few patience quotes that I find helpful. Feel free to pin any or all of them!
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” –Joyce Meyer
“Patience with others is Love. Patience with self is Hope. Patience with God is Faith.” – Adel Bestavros
“Patience is a form of wisdom. It shows that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Patience is when you are supposed to be mad but you choose to understand.” – Via (The Minds Journal)
“A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret.”
What Benefits of Being Patient Have You Seen In Your Life?
How has patience benefitted you in your life? Can you tell me about a time that you practiced patience or that you wish you had? Leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you!