As kids, we’re taught to be patient. To wait for things without anxiety or complaint because the reward will be worth the wait.
We learn about patience while waiting for specific things – a birthday party, trip to Disney World or the start of summer vacation – but what about when you have to wait for things that are way harder to achieve?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to recognize that patience for intangible things is a lot harder to master. It’s a more gradual and challenging process, marked by the lack of a defined end.
When you can’t mark days on the calendar off with a red X, it’s harder to feel like you’re getting any closer to something. And being stuck in a feeling or situation you’d like to depart from can be absolutely miserable.
Take grief, for example. We know time is the only thing that can help ease this kind of pain, but when every minute is painful, it’s hard to be patient for a reprieve. And what about forgiveness – it’s something we know comes in time, when the anger and hurt feelings diminish – but it can be a real bear to wait for this transformation.
There are probably endless ways to master different levels of patience, but I think one of the most important parts of the process is simply recognizing that it will be hard, and slow, and not delivered all at once.