A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moment of regrets.

Patience is often the most confusing of virtues. For one thing, many people don’t realize that patience is learned! It doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Here are three areas in which patience does pay:

Goal setting. You’ve heard the saying that anything good is worth waiting for, which doesn’t mean simply sitting and doing nothing, waiting for great things to happen to you. You have to make them happen! When you sit down and write out your goals, give yourself a realistic time frame. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Set mini-goals within larger goals so you can get a better visual of your progress. You’ll feel motivated by your accomplishments when you see your plan developing.

  1. Learning new skills. It’s not as easy to learn new skills as we age. We can become discouraged and feel like giving up. People who have been out of the workforce for many years are completely out of the technology loop, and it can be challenging to get up to speed. Having a broken bone is the best lesson in patience. Not that I’m suggesting you do anything dangerous, but, in this case, patience is born out of necessity. You learn how to do everyday tasks in a different way to stay mobile. Taking up a sport, such as karate or yoga, may feel awkward at first, but with practice, suddenly, you feel like a pro. I didn’t get my enchiladas right the first dozen times, but now they are restaurant quality. If I had given up after that initial soggy mess, I don’t know what I would serve at family reunions.
  2. Tolerance. Sometimes patience can mean enduring or persevering in a difficult situation. We’ve all had issues with bad drivers or demanding bosses– even dial-up Internet can make our blood pressure go up. But we can use these as opportunities to grow our patience. Instead of screaming at your kids when they’re not ready for school, think about all the times they’ve had to wait on you. Impatience can make people lose their temper and say something they don’t mean. By contrast, patience promotes peace.

In this age of instant gratification, it is increasingly difficult to accept what is out of our power. Learning patience is genuinely an art. But it is an art worth learning for your health, happiness, and healing.

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