Impatience is Natural, But Patience Makes Us Happy
In my last post, I discussed the nature of Miseralites and how they live like the “natural man.” One of their natural traits that is inherent to all of us is their lack of patience or impatience. While impatience can get us what we need to survive, it does nothing to help us survive well. Impatience is natural, but patience makes us happy.
The Look of Impatience
How often do you honk at the driver in front of you when he doesn’t immediately take off as the light turns green? How many eye rolls do you make while waiting in the check-out line? How frustrated do you get when the computer is slow? If we looked at ourselves during these times of impatience, we would look like the guy in the picture. When we are impatient, we pout, frown, glare, and scowl. These are expressions we find repulsive in others.
By nature, we are impatient. Patience isn’t a trait. It is a virtue, a skill we all have the ability to achieve. Patience is how we choose to behave while waiting to get what we want or to achieve a goal.
Patience leads to success. Look at our ancestors. Could you wait and endure like they did? Think about your own family history. During WW II, my dad, like many soldiers spent a week on a crowded ship coming back from Europe. They didn’t have TV, fine dining, luxury suites, or communication with their loved ones. They made the best of their situation. They were patient. Consider people even before that time. Our ancestors’ patience has afforded us to have all the things we enjoy now. Can and would you do the same for your descendants?
Society Drives Impatience
We are being conditioned to strengthen our nature and be more impatient than fortify the goodness of patience. Our society emphasizes the need for instant relief, instant access, and instant gratification. This leaves us feeling a sense of urgency rather than the calmness and satisfaction we are led to believe we will get.
When we don’t practice patience, we keep wanting results faster and faster. We get stressed out and stress out others at the same time. We develop anxiety, anger issues, high blood pressure, digestive issues, headaches, and other illnesses. Our impatience damages our relationships. It also leads to more self-defeating behaviors, such as stubbornness, self-righteousness, and pride.
Even though impatience is natural, patience makes us happy, so why wouldn’t we want to do it more? Why wouldn’t a society that is so focused on natural and organic foods, medications for better health, and products to promote good health be so impatient?
Benefits of Being Patient
If you want to be happier and healthier, practice patience. Here are the benefits:
- We make better decisions. When we are patient, we take more time to see the big picture and that gives us more information to make better decisions.
- Reduces stress. Making ourselves stop and think through a situation slows us down so we don’t feel rushed or forced.
- We form better relationships. When we wait with a good attitude, we are more accepting of others. It allows us to be more compassionate and empathic.
- We are freer. Patience eliminates anxiety, criticism, judgment, and anger making us free from distress and self-loathing.
- Provides anticipatory pleasure. Patience allows us to experience the same kind of pleasure we have when we’re waiting for a happy occasion. For example, my son and daughter-in-law just had their third child and waited to know the baby’s gender. They agreed that waiting to find out gave them more to look forward to. It made the anticipation even more exciting and fun.
- Promotes a better future.
Test Your Patience
Take the patience challenge. Evaluate your level of patience and how it affects your daily life. Notice how you behave when someone or something prevents you from getting what you want when you want it or think you should have it.
We’ve all tripped up things for people and caused them to not get what they wanted when they wanted it. If you are impatient, give yourself a moment to think and assess the situation. Take an inventory of yourself:
- Are you expecting too much from someone?
- Have you ever made a mistake that inconvenienced someone?
- Do you recall how relieved you were when someone was patient with you?
- Do you remember what it was like when someone was impatient with you?
Then, figure out better strategies that you can implement:
- Evaluate the priority of the event – in the scheme of things how important is this? This gives you more options.
- Ask yourself, “How can I make this the best possible situation?” This keeps you independent. It relieves others of the burden to make you happy and gives you ownership of your own happiness.
- Choose to believe the best. When we choose to believe the best, we automatically set ourselves and others up for a better outcome.
Worth the Wait
Keep your ultimate goal in view. When we are waiting for something, our ultimate goal is success and satisfaction. Even if you don’t get what you want when you want it, practicing good behaviors during the wait will give you more joy, peace, and satisfaction. It will be worth the wait. You will be happier.