The definition of patience as provided by Dictionary.com
- The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.
- An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay
- Quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care, diligence
In our world of instant access and immediate gratification, patience almost seems an anomaly. In my humble opinion, this anomaly has a significant impact on all of our communications and interactions with one another. You see this every day, with road rage, while standing in line or crossing the street (both driver and pedestrian) an overall self absorption that has led to a society of non-connectors. Just look at the steady divorce rate. Or the amount of time we spend on our devices. In one of my previous articles, I wrote about being at a restaurant on date night with my husband and how dismaying it was to see so many people sitting at a table together, but not engaging with their immediate company. Specifically there was a couple beside us at one of the other booths. They were cozied up with a nice bottle of wine. You would think that they were whispering sweet nothings and silently gazing in each other’s eyes. But this was not the case; each of them was on their phone for practically the entire time they were there! Maybe they were texting each other…
How about the numerous complaints or inquiries from those who have sent you texts or emails, that you haven’t responded to within nanoseconds of sending? I guess this is why the saying, “patience is a virtue” is true and there are many non-virtuous people out there, myself included! Would the world stop spinning if we slowed down a little? I’m not talking about sitting on a beach for a few days with a sweet alcoholic drink, although that is nice. What I am referring to is slowing down the speed at which we pace through our days, base our expectations and live our lives. There are times when being patient may not be the best response, like an emergency situation. However, for the most part being patient would serve us all well. How as patience served me? When I employ patience, I think clearer, which makes me just a better person overall.
Not only is there a cost to our mental health with a lack of patience, but there is a cost to our physical health. We need to manage our expectations! For example, when I have a scheduled doctor’s appointment, nine times out ten, I am waiting at least 20 minutes past my scheduled time, and more often than not, the wait is even longer. Talk about an exercise in patience! Screaming children, people coughing all over you and not enough chairs! Then I finally get in the examination room, only to wait another ten to fifteen minutes. Oops this is starting to sound like a rant about my doctor’s office!
Let’s get back to the subject at hand, be a little patience with me (wink, wink) I tend to go off on tangents! The impact on physical health cannot be ignored. Impatience causes anger and that leads to a plethora of physical symptoms, both seen and unseen!
Taken from: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/anger2.htm (Molly Edmunds):
” If you’re constantly being activated by triggers, however, then this state of response can start to cause damage. Chronically angry people may not have the mechanism to turn off these effects. They may not produce acetylcholine, a hormone which tempers the more severe effects of adrenaline. Their nervous system is constantly working and can eventually become overexerted, leading to a weakened heart and stiffer arteries [source: Angier]. There’s potential for liver and kidney damage, as well as high cholesterol. Anger may bring along some accompanying issues, such as depression or anxiety .
Anger’s physical side effects explain why you frequently see studies about the damage that this emotion can do to our bodies. In one study of almost 13,000 subjects, individuals with the highest levels of anger had twice the risk of coronary artery disease and three times the risk of heart attack, as compared to the subjects with the lowest levels of anger [source: Kam]. Some scientists think that chronic anger may be more dangerous than smoking and obesity as a factor that will contribute to early death [source: Angier].
I believe that the root cause of impatience is control. When things are not within your locus of control it causes frustration and anger which are all a result of impatience. Think about it? Have you ever tried to unknot a chain or earbuds, as I do for my children regularly? When I am in a rush, I usually make the situation worse. However, when I slow down and take my time things work out well for me, the kids and the ear buds!
When I as a child, I was always told; slow and steady wins the race, I believe that to be true! How about you? When has your impatience benefited you? So, the next time you are impatient about the results you are getting in any area of your life, remember this quote from 1001 Ways to Patience:
“What good is impatience? About as good as banging your head against a brick wall.”