This month I’m sharing a word that has nothing to do with how it makes me feel, like embrace or because I love the way it sounds, like gentle. I chose this word because it’s frequently used when describing me: Patience. The funny thing, and why it’s a favorite, is because depending on who you are speaking to, it’s either one of my virtues or one of my vices. I’ll explain that in a bit.
Patience is the ability to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. It’s often associated with nurses, teachers, or anyone in a helping profession. I think some of the more scientific professions, like researchers, also exude a great deal of patience. Working on one theory for decades, while confronted with many dead ends in the process, has to take patience.
There are three quotes about patience that I love:
Patience is not the ability to wait but how you act while waiting.
Acting patiently takes trust; trusting that the outcome you are waiting for will eventual come. This makes me think of the young couple waiting to buy their first home. They may have to walk through several homes before finding their dream house. If they have patience, and believe they will find that house, they won’t impatiently settle for something less than what they want.
Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.
Most of us are much more patient with others than we are with ourselves. In my days of therapy, when I was so frustrated with my slow progress, my therapist would say, “Be patient with yourself. You’re doing a great job. It took you forty years to get here; it will take time to heal.” Now I often give others the same advice: be patient with yourself, you deserve it.
Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can. You’ll find it in a woman but never in a man.
This one makes me laugh. I say it to my husband all the time, when in truth patience is NOT gender specific. Some of the most patient people, including my husband, are men. Not only is patience not gender specific it’s not an exclusive quality. I don’t believe we are either patient or impatient. It depends on the situation and that brings me to the explanation of patience being my virtue and my vice.
Patience as my virtue. I was a special education teacher for 33 years. Needless to say, that required a great deal of patience. I’m also known to be patient with the elderly and others needing a shoulder to lean on.
Patience as my vice. When does the lack of patience become my vice? Simply said: Computers! They can be so ridiculously slow or complicated I want to tear my hair out! Throw the darn thing in the trash! Return to the days of the encyclopedia, Dewey Decimal System and plain old ignorance from not having access to every bit of news! See, I’m getting frustrated just telling you about my impatience with computers. And when I’m hitting every possible key to get results and my husband says, “Roberta, have patience.” I could toss him out too! I actually had a slight hissy fit writing this post. I use my PC to write while using my old, very slow, IPad to research things like quotes.
Patience has a place on my list of favorite words because it describes both the best and worst in all of us. When is patience a virtue for you? When is it a vice? I’d love to hear since I surely can’t imagine that I’m alone!
Roberta Dolan is a former special education teacher with a master’s degree in counseling. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Roberta has made it her mission to end the silence of sexual abuse, lend support to survivors, and educate others on preventing child sexual abuse through seminars, her blog, Write to Survive, and website www.RobertaDolan.com. Say It Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse (She Writes Press 2014) is Roberta’s first book. A unique blend of memoir and how-to, the book offers strategies for healing from any type of personal trauma. Roberta is available to speak to book clubs, women’s groups and organizations on Healing and the Power of Saying it Out Loud.