Patience Patients


It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting. ~ Elizabeth Taylor

“The years.” How significant those two words. They reference a manner in which we score time. They are also an expanse that provides us space to assess and test ourselves.

This past Fall I took my mother on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise. We spent time in Rome both prior to and following beautiful seaborne excursions. While she is still amply able-bodied and of sharp mind, I wanted to share more time and experiences with her.

I also wanted to test my own patience.


As do most children, I love my mother. She is responsible for countless aspects of my grounding, my growth and my character. She also tests my patience. πŸ™‚

Patience is the ability to tolerate waiting, delay or frustration without becoming agitated or upset. It is also the ability to control our emotions or impulses and proceed calmly when faced with challenges. It comes from the Latin word patiΒ which means to suffer, to endure, to bear. Needless to say, patience does not come easily for many of us.

In today’s world of instant everything, technology, and a readily available universe, we can obtain, experience, and consume practically anything we want – almost immediately. Some wonder, do we even need to be patient anymore?

Time with my mother helped me to better understand and appreciate how we wait alongside and accept others. As a grown man, I needed to reassure myself that I possessed and embraced this capacity. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” In the spirit of this quote, planning and measured growth take time and taking time takes patience.


Eknath Easwaran, a spiritual teacher and author once said, “Patience can’t be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.” It makes sense then that the more we can remain patient, the easier it gets. It’s a muscle we build over the years; a muscle I am still developing.

To those who acknowledge patience as a virtue, these three considerations may be worth your time and practice:

  1. Accept the reality of your humanity. You are going to need time, effort and energy to change and grow. There will be natural resistance to altering long-standing habitual ways of acting, reacting and believing. Simply give it time.
  2. Plan a day to make patience your goal for the entire day. Take your time and think about everything you do. At day’s end, reflect on all the ways you made conscious choices, got along better with others and actually understood what took place.
  3. Be patient with yourself. Keep this kindness reminder in mind when it comes to life. Things don’t always go as planned. You will do things you know you ought not have done. Don’t beat yourself up. Or give up.

Consider being a benefactor of patience.


42 thoughts on “Patience Patients

  1. Wonderful post, Eric. Agree with you that patience is so very important in life – it’s something that younger people now don’t appreciate as much, as we are living in a “now, now, now” society these days. I particularly liked point #3 in this post. We don’t give ourselves a break enough (at least, I don’t.) So, thank you for that reminder. Have a good one, my friend!

  2. What a great reminder … and example Eric.
    I like to frame patience as the opposite of impatience.
    Impatience is when we don’t accept the way things are. We want to have things the way we want them.
    Patience is accepting the way things are. Letting go and letting be.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this, Eric. Over the years, I have learned to be more patient. To wait. To listen a little longer before responding. Not interrupting. To let things be. My parents are getting older. I need to make a lot of allowances for their failing faculties. Thank you for talking about it.

    • Thank you. In a context similar to your comment (I believe), it *is* about giving matters time and invoking thoughtful consideration which often lends to responding rather than reacting. I appreciate your reference to making allowances. That, too, enables kindness.

  4. This post is very timely for me. I’m about to spend two weeks with my mom, who tries my patience. I like how you described patience as a muscle that needs to be built. I will practice my patience and acknowledge how much I do each day to build that muscle.

    • I’d like to know that too, Jean. πŸ™‚ I am familiar with her publicly professed views (of me) yet who knows what she thinks privately. Kidding aside, I’m her first born and she is as proud of me as I am of her — even through our thick and thin times.

  5. I have to admit that as I’ve gotten older, my patience level has increased. There are things I just could not tolerate once upon a time that I now sit and smile through. Things that had me shaking my fist and cursing at, now just give me a reason to be quiet and listen and watch. Funny how that works.

  6. Hi Eric,
    I have learnt patience slowly with the lessons that life keeps offering us, whether we like them or not! The elderly teach us this virtue in a subtle manner, without saying much. I hope you emerged successful!

    • I did emerge successful, a bit wiser and even more grateful for time with my mother. It is true that life continuously offers us lessons; we simply need to be open to, aware of, and then willing to embrace them. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Balroop.

  7. Oh Eric I have missed your space, not sure why I stopped getting your feeds but I have re followed and look forward to reading more. I am going to try the patience all day. With a child who has autism I need lots of patience.

    • Perhaps, Kath, WordPress auto-deletes blogs we follow if there is an extended period of inactivity – as was the case with my posting. Whatever the reason, we have reconnected which is a pleasing outcome. Thanks for re-following.

      To your needing lots of patience… I sense there’s a special Mom, special child bond, with unique blessings and challenges. Wishing both of you lots of love and understanding.

    • I believe we all struggle, Liz, at some time or another. And I’m not even sure what the highest level of patience might be. It’s something I do not strive for; sounds too much like ‘perfection.’ πŸ™‚ Up and down seems a good modulation.

  8. It is so nice to have you back blogging (pardon my belated wishes!) ~ but we all have been patiently waiting for your return. The cruise with your Mom must have been pretty incredible, and after spending the past week with my family ~ I do understand how patience is vital to function in life. It is perhaps harder than ever to build up patience (I believe, as you say, it is a muscle that needs to be built up over time), and taking time away from today’s world of instant feedback is not easy. Your wise words and advice are just what is needed. I think it must start first with yourself…sometimes having patience with myself is very difficult πŸ™‚ Cheers to a great week ahead.

    • You know how it is… some things and people you just cannot stay away from. πŸ™‚ Your welcome back sentiments are kind and appreciated.

      Patience, I believe, is a simple and at times, complex concept. If it were exclusively the former, we’d not likely struggle with it. It seems, to me, to be a trait that while challenging for many to address, it can be rewarding and constructive when we find ways to recognize its presence and effect – on ourselves and others. To your comment, starting with ourselves is both prudent and foundational yet I, admittedly, am one who may be working on it for the rest of my earthy years. Each of us who tries gets due credit for the effort. Great weeks ahead, returned, Randy.

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