Patience Is A Virtue

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Patience is little more than the willingness to accept the passage of time. (sergign/Shutterstock)
Patience is little more than the willingness to accept the passage of time. (sergign/Shutterstock)

Waiting can be difficult. Everyone finds themselves wanting a new job, a new place to live, or just a general change in life. The problem is that no matter how much we want these things, we cannot always make them happen as quickly as we would like. Sometimes, we have to learn a thing or two about patience. This is especially true when the things we want are in the control of others.

There are many situations in which we need patience if we are to truly thrive. We must learn to recognize these situations early on, or else we may risk developing the exact type of emotional disturbance that so often leads to relapse. If we truly care about staying sober, then we must learn as soon as possible that patience is important. No matter how much disappointment we may be facing in our daily lives, we have to embrace the concept of patience and learn that, sometimes, we just have to wait before we can get what we want. If we can do this, then we may have a great deal of happiness in front of us.

Why Patience Does Us Well

Those who know patience are among the happiest, most relaxed people you will ever meet. (Fifian Iromi/Shutterstock)
Those who know patience are among the happiest, most relaxed people you will ever meet. (Fifian Iromi/Shutterstock)

Patience is not something to be taken lightly, for its benefits to our daily lives are immense. Through patience, we are able to learn discipline. Through patience, we are able to learn serenity. Through patience, we are able to learn a number of things that we must learn if we are ever to maintain any true sense of sobriety. But if we cannot factor patience into our lives, then we will likely relapse when we cannot afford to do so. In other words, patience is a major aspect of relapse prevention.

Think of the last time you were denied something that you wanted. How did you respond? More importantly, think of the last time you were denied something that you wanted while you were either drunk or stoned. The overwhelming odds are that you responded badly. Not only were you not your best self, but you probably made a pretty bad impression on those around you. This includes the people who could’ve given you what you were after. In some ways, a lack of patience becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We do not get what we want, and so we remove ourselves even farther from it out of spite.

When we learn patience, we learn how to stop holding ourselves back out of petty resentments. Maybe we didn’t get precisely what we wanted, precisely when we wanted it. If we have any semblance of maturity, this should not be enough for us to make complete fools of ourselves. We should learn how to respond with a bit of integrity. We should learn how to deal with our disappointments in a mature and responsible manner. If we cannot do this, then one might say we do not truly deserve the things we want in the first place.

In some ways, disappointment is as important to learn as patience. We must learn how to reach a point of acceptance when it comes to situations that we do not prefer. This is a major part of life, and in some ways almost constitutes an entire skillset. But if we can learn to identify the situations in which we need to exercise patience the most, we will do wonders for our lives and for our sobriety. Because once we have learned to develop patience, we will have learned a whole new area of discipline for which we will become much, much better people.

Situations in Which We Need Patience

Any situation involving other people, such as when we are driving, is one which will require a measure of patience. (ambrozinio/Shutterstock)
Any situation involving other people, such as when we are driving, is one which will require a measure of patience. (ambrozinio/Shutterstock)

There are many situations in which we will need to know how to exhibit patience. The most common of these situations are those involving money and those involving other people, although there are other situations that may apply to us as well. It is not usually hard to identify these situations, although some of us may struggle with this task at first. The really tricky part, of course, is not in identifying these situations but rather in learning how to express patience when we would rather do otherwise.

One of the key situations in which we must learn how to express patience is situations involving other people. Perhaps we have a relationship that is not moving at the speed we would prefer. Or maybe we have asked someone for a favor that they have not yet fulfilled. This may upset us. It may even anger us. Nonetheless, we cannot lose our cool. Losing our heads and flying off the handle will get us nowhere. Instead, we must be patient and understanding. If need be, we may inquire as to when we might see satisfaction. But if we respond to such situations in anger, we will only ensure that we never get what it is that we want.

Situations involving money may try our patience as well. Perhaps we are waiting on a new job opportunity, or even a promotion at our current place of business. If we have been expecting this for quite some time, then any delay may be quite troubling to us. Even so, we must do our best to remain calm. We cannot let fear get the best of us, or else our output of work will suffer as a result. Once this has happened, we can kiss that new job or promotion goodbye.

There are also many legal situations that may cause us unrest. Perhaps we are waiting to hear back on the results of a particular court date, waiting to see if our ticket may be forgiven or our records expunged. This can be nerve-wracking, but that is not to say that we cannot make it through with utmost patience if we are willing to do so. We must simply remind ourselves that things could be much rougher, that we could easily be in jail instead of among free men and women. When we look at things in this light, our situation does not seem half as bad.

Basically, the key to learning which situations require the most patience is simply learning to attune ourselves to our own thoughts. If we can maintain an air of mindfulness, we will realize that the times we need patience the most are simply the times in which we find ourselves the most impatient. This may sound simple, but you’d be amazed at how many people fail to make this realization. If you can remember this basic fact, then you will be far less likely to find yourself lacking patience when you need it the most.

Learning to Develop Patience

Meditation helps quite a bit. (gpointstudio/Shutterstock)
Meditation helps quite a bit. (gpointstudio/Shutterstock)

It is not always easy to learn how to develop patience, but it can be done with enough effort. Frankly, half of the battle will simply be learning to recognize the situations in which patience is most needed. Once you have done this, you will be well on your way to developing the patience you need in order to lead a much more disciplined lifestyle. You must have a bit of discipline to start, but it will grow over time as you work harder and harder at developing your patience.

One thing that you might wish to try is meditation. Two forms of which we have spoken in the past are walking meditation and Zen sitting meditation, but the truth is that any form of meditation will do you good. It will teach you about discipline, and about clearing your mind of clouded thoughts. As you begin to learn a thing or two about mindfulness, you will find that your patience begins to increase and you no longer become fearful or angry every time you do not get what you want precisely when you want it. This will be a major point of personal growth for you.

Another thing that you might try in the interest of developing your patience is to intentionally put yourself in situations that have caused you to become impatient before. If you happen to know that a particular store or restaurant has relatively slow service, try going there and doing your best to keep yourself calm. It may be difficult at first, but you will soon find that you care less and less how long it takes for you to get what you want. And as you begin to develop patience in this setting, your patience in other settings will hopefully grow as well.

There is a common expression that you should never pray for patience, because you will ultimately be tested. You will be put in a situation that forces you to develop patience if you wish to remain sober. Unfortunately, you will be tested in this fashion whether you have prayed for patience or not. It is best that you be ready for it, prepared to exhibit patience long before you are required to do so. If you are not ready, then you will fail this test; however, readiness will serve you well. For it is when we develop patience that we learn the true extent of our discipline and, as such, our sobriety.

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