Take a moment to think back on someone in your family that exhibits the virtue of PATIENCE. How do they do that? Perhaps it‘s related to whether they are an optimist or a pessimist. Being a parent or grandparent certainly gives you lots of opportunities to develop patience by not jumping to judgment, but listening and trying to understand misbehavior of younger less experienced family members. (Photo of my mom's siblings taken in California: l-r Esther, Norman, Mom-Evelyn and Ethel-the only one still alive-she's 91 years old, missing is oldest brother Clarence who lived in Utah.)
ACTING NOT REACTING may be the true test of a person’s attitude. In our world of tumultuous events, political parties and mobs, it’s easy to feel that life is out of control. That it’s UNFAIR! That could be a definition of impatience-out of control, angry, irritated and agitated. It’s an easier path to just react, which can lead to destruction and chaos rather than act. Wars, family feuds and misunderstandings have been waged because of the lack of patience in working out problems and the desire for power and control over others.
Could we perhaps say the goal of this life is to learn patience by the things that challenge us? An optimist says “Okay let’s see what I can learn from this negative experience.” The pessimist says, “Oh no, poor me. I can’t handle this trial.” They both are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you don’t think you can handle an experience, you won’t. Whereas, if you think you can make something positive out of a negative experience, you can! Which attitude do you aspire to? Which viewpoint is going to help your patience improve?
Looking back as you reach your “mature” years is a real test of patience. You can realize all the growth you’ve made as a person from dealing with your challenges OR you can become upset in seeing how unfair life was. One of the major lessons to learn in the journey is “it isn’t fair.” Children are great sticklers for trying to make you be fair especially when they want something you don’t want them to have. Maybe we sound like sometimes too?
Some individuals feel that IF they are a good person that they should have no problems. When tragedy strikes in the form of an illness, accident or another problem, they are irritated over the UNFAIRNESS of whatever trials they are called to go through. Pointing out a friend or someone else who seems surrounded with a life of ease and prosperity, no problems really gets you nowhere.