How to Be Patient with Life and Yourself

how to be patient

Learning how to be patient with life requires you to be a constant student. It isn’t easy.

The cartoon shows a woman looking up into sky and she screams out, “God, I want more patience and I want it NOW!”

I stand in front of the microwave, tapping my foot and thinking, “Come on, come on, don’t you know I’m running late?” (As if the microwave has ears and can respond!) The computer seems to take forever to fire up as does the little wheel going round to “arrive” at whatever it is seeking. Our patience gets challenged more and more every day because our belief is our needs must be met immediately and, therefore, we run an amber light rather than waiting. We jaywalk rather than walking to the corner. We spend rather than save. We buy something now that we can’t afford but we don’t have to pay for two years. Nike admonishes us to ‘Just Do It’, but we take that in the wrong context. We never have heard the words “delayed gratification”. We eat unhealthy meals because it is quicker. Patience can be as rare as the Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh and just as valuable, it seems.

Personal development seems to take forever. Planning for the long term is nearly impossible. We want to reach our goals NOW, not later. We don’t want to pay the price of success because it takes too long. It’s always “NOW”, not later. We don’t think about how we’ll feel LATER, we care about how we feel NOW. If it “feels good” do it! I even had a smoker say to me that you have to die of something! Easy to say now, but when the dreaded cancer diagnosis is given he will want the doctor to “fix it – NOW” – as if it is the doctor’s fault his lungs are being eaten away.

Advertisers say getting that illusive “something” will make you feel happy and complete and that is why we feel impatient. We want our new car because our ego needs to be fed. Our belief that our happiness will be found in getting that car or achieving the goal makes us want it to happen immediately. The truth is the “thing” only brings a moment of temporary happiness before the adverts tell us there is something else we need to make us happy. And so we fall for it, again and again, and live with the stress of, “How will I pay for it all?” And still there is emptiness.

Focusing on the lack of whatever it is you want will bring more lack of “it” to your life. It will bring more nothingness and discontent because someone else now has something we want and now “need” to make us happy. That is why the old saying is, “Thou shalt not covet”. When I achieve this or that or get this or that, then I will be happy. Our life rushes by unfulfilled, always looking for the next thing. It isn’t that the “stuff” is bad, it is our belief that we “need” the stuff to make us happy or the recognition or achievement to be accepted by our peers that is bad.

I believe in goals. I set them and I work towards them and I am grateful for the many blessings I already enjoy. It takes happiness to a whole new level. By taking just a moment to just look out the window and appreciate the ray of sunshine, the reflection of a raindrop, the laughter of the kookaburra blended with the shrieks of delight from the neighbours’ children, the whistle of the kettle and the crackle of warmth from the fireplace, then my energy is restored. Count your blessings and they seem to multiply. Then you have courage, energy and patience for the task at hand.

When we “let go” of our perceived needs, happiness comes rushing in. Being grateful for all I already have is amazing. The outcome is not in our hands anymore. This is where we develop patience in our gratitude. The Universe will respond at the right moment in time, never one minute early and never one second late. It’s best to go a step at a time with the clarity that you will win your own race. Otherwise, you will end up on a detour of ill health and broken relationships because impatience has you chasing down something that seems to evade you!

Aim towards the main goal with passion, determination and persistence and keep gratitude utmost with that feeling of conviction that you know the Universe is always there. Genuine happiness and fulfilment will be there each moment as you stop and smell the roses while you achieve the wonderful things in life! Beauty is in the journey and not the destination.


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