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Learning to Be Patient

Updated on October 4, 2012
Take it easy, like this guy!
Take it easy, like this guy! | Source

When I was a kid, I had a hard time waiting for things. I hated waiting for Christmas so I would do a countdown until it came. And then when it came time for Christmas, I never took the slow and steady approach to unwrapping presents. I'd rip the paper to see what I got. But after that initial euphoria with what I received, I went back to the jumpy kid I was.

As I got older, I was more and more inclined to wait for what was coming to me. I realized that good grades and good friends came with the right approach instead of the instant approach. While I still have my moments of dogged impatience, I feel like my growth into a patient person has helped me live a more fulfilling life.

Of course there are moments where we can't wait and have to do something then and there but some things in life are not necessarily about the ends but the means. I would argue to say the best things come with time and effort instead of jumpy anxiety and halfheartedness.

Driving Yourself Crazy!

I waited a long time to drive. That decision was based on alot of personal reasons as well as just not feeling ready. However, when I was ready I was completely focused on the task at hand. For the most part, I am a calm and collected driver. Freaking out on the road is the easiest way to cause accidents. However, it never ceases to amaze me how many impatient people surround me on the road.

I feel like that as much as driving is a privilege, it is also a responsibility. Not only that but you literally take your life in your own hands when you get on the road. I believe there are many people who see driving this way but there are people who treat highways like speedways and these people have a huge case of Road Rage.

To me Road Rage, is just a simple way of saying the person is impatient to the point it's affected their driving behavior negatively. For instance, if you are about to turn but do not do it quickly enough to the person behind you, they beep the horn and then haphazardly go around you as if they are the EMS. Is this smart? No. Is it safe? No. But do people do it? Yes.

Another problem fueling Road Rage is the barrage of distractions people are surrounded by such as iPhones, Bluetooth, and so on. I understand people want to stay in contact with others, but when you drive that should be your focus. Just because someone wants to hear what you are doing does not mean you should put that above being a good driver.

Something else that bugs me about Road Rage is that it is almost like the Insanity Defense in court. While there are people who genuinely cannot differentiate right and wrong, smart and dumb or apples and oranges there are so many more who just use it as leverage to get out of taking personal responsibility. If you are short tempered take some steps to calm down so you can be a better driver.

I find one way that I keep calm driving is to listen to music, I start singing along to the radio and I forget the stress that driving brings on. Obviously this does not work for everyone but it is a simple step in the right direction in order to be a driver who is focused.

Another thing I think that should be done is that there should be driving classes for overly aggressive drivers. This could include yoga breathing techniques, problem solving exercises, and coping skills in order to help people feel more comfortable driving.

Food Fightin'

I like a great meal, what can I say, I am a dyed in the wool foodie. But I also know that a truly great meal usually takes the appropriate amount of time to prepare and execute in order to ensure a truly enjoyable experience. Don't get me wrong, I do love fast food at times but one thing that fast food has removed us from is the experience of eating as a pleasure instead of a need or craving needing to be met.

The best meals I have had took time to come together. And I always could tell that the cook was heavily devoted to putting their best effort forward. I think that is what we need to come back to now especially with the obesity crisis at hand.

Cooking does not have to be a chore and eating does not have to be done in your car, desk, or couch during a commercial break.

When I was in college, as much as I wanted to think otherwise, I really missed my mom's cooking. She at least took the time to try and give us something healthy and nourishing. The dining hall was all about putting rumps in seats with quick food. I was not used to this. I spent all of my formative years taking my lunch to school in fear of what the cafeteria served.

Fortunately, I did have the occasional culinary delight to tide me over but going into my senior year I took charge of my palette by immersing myself in the kitchen. I started playing with food in ways that appealed to my roommates at the time but I also realized that food means more when you think through what you make more than trying to get something hot on the table quick.

One of my favorite parts of the day is eating dinner. I can unwind from whatever lingered through the day and sit back. It's not always easy but it is possible. I think one thing that is helping people appreciate food are cooking shows. And not just ones that engage in food porn but ones that give people useful skills. Rachel Ray is showing families how to prepare an entire week's worth of meals in a day. And Sandra Lee is helping families save money.

Relationship Rushers

I have had a lot of interesting experiences dealing with others since I was a kid. In that time I have learned two crucial things about relationships, you cannot force them and you certainly cannot rush them. That being said all relationships are not the same nor are they equal. We have all heard stories of long married couples tying the knot after two weeks of courtship. And on the flip side we have heard of couples splitting up quickly after a long relationship. This does not only bode for relationships in a romantic sense but also friendships and family relations.

Growing up in the era of Disney Princesses, among other things did some damage to some generations of young women. The ideal of a fairytale courtship and marriage has long became the standard. And as we have grown up the fairytale has extended itself to the unjust land of reality television with shows such as The Bachelor offering new standards of romance.

I hate to say it but there's a reason these things do not work. For one, The Bachelor is scripted and edited to look like reality. In actuality these people do not know each other that well and the dramatization of the relationship is just that.

Pointing the finger at shows like this is easy but in actuality, it plays into the impatient nature of our society and romance. Women especially are sucked into this trap because of the exaggeration of the biological clock which inevitably leads to the idea that women should be married off to reproduce.

There is nothing wrong with wanting a family but subjecting yourself to a relationship only for the sake of being in one leads to bad consequences.

I have witnessed this far too many times. And it happens in families too. Relatives often want an idealized version of a relationship between like family members and in turn force bad interactions.

For example, if two siblings grew up thick as thieves but suddenly grew apart after leaving for college, parents may try to encourage a relationship. However, this is bad. Not that encouraging a friendly interaction is wrong but sometimes two people are only close for a short period or defined period of time in their lives. If anything, it just goes to show relationships change as we change.

Once again we should never stop discouraging people from pursuing genuine interactions with others but there are times in life when you have to realize the best relationships are the ones you find yourself in, not the ones you put yourself in.

Public Disservice

My current job involves being very patient. A good part of my day is spent on the telephone talking to doctors' offices. Anyone who has worked in public service knows that dealing with the public or other organizations and businesses is something that does not happen instantaneously.

I can hold on the phone simply because I know I am working on behalf of people who are in need. When I think of that, anything about myself or my own patience goes out the window. Not only do I apply this to my job but also as a consumer.

I have no problem holding on the phone with the phone, internet, or cable company-which is probably why I always end up calling on behalf of my house for any problems. I figure, time might be precious but it's not so precious that you have to forget that you were a human (hopefully) raised by other humans.

The same can be said in the grocery store or in department stores. I usually wait for someone to move before I actually ask to go by, this is especially pertinent to families with small children and the elderly. If anything, I think of myself in their position and try to be as kind as possible.

Is it easy? Of course not, but what in life is actually easy? Think of it this way, being nice to someone can make their day or change it. A smile, a nice gesture such as letting the elderly go ahead of you in line can help them forget their problems. I am not saying you have to become a martyr, but just changing your outlook might help your issues with patience.

As our world becomes faster and more instantly gratifying- we still have to remember that good things can come to those who wait.


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    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you Ruth!

    • profile image

      Ruth Pieterse 

      5 years ago

      Interesting hub! Voted up.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Phil Plasma,

      I think having children is a rather understandable situation for testing your patience. I don't have kids but I babysat for several years and it is hard to sometimes temper yourself to understand children.

      I agree some people are innately patient and others have to learn it. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I have been rather patient for most of my life and really was so, that is, until I had children. I occasionally become impatient with my children when they misbehave incessantly, but apart from that, in the situations you've named before, I'm usually quite patient.

      I think some people have an innate patience that really helps them through life; for others, they have to learn it. Great hub, voted up.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I agree Jools- people are in too much of a hurry and really for much of nothing. I think when you rush you take the enjoyment out of life. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • Jools99 profile image


      5 years ago from North-East UK

      I just hate to see Road Rage in action - I have been in the car with friends who have had people be quite rude to them because they've stalled or something. People are in far too much of a hurry these days. I was once not a very patient person but I think I am learning to appreciate that things can wait. You still get 'em eventually - impatience is just another string of stress.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Tirelesstraveler,

      Yeah I think many teens need more time and practice to get their license but in the end the experience of driving should teach you patience. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      Hurrying who me. I got my license on my 16th birthday and I got it by the skin of my teeth. A little more practice would have made me a better driver. Its amazing my mother ever let me drive.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks so much Cogerson! I agree sometimes waiting is better than the experience but I don't regret waiting until I was ready to drive at all, otherwise my driving record would probably be long and spotty.

    • Cogerson profile image


      5 years ago from Virginia

      Excellent hub....and I agree with your thoughts I get older have come to realize that waiting for least waiting for a good more fun than actually getting/doing that good thing.

      I smiled when I read you waited a long time to I remember when I was waiting to get my license...I actually did a countdown of days until I got the license...the funny thing is I started about 18 months before I got the license....I was like only 548 more days till I can drive.

      Voted up and very interesting.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you Docmo! I think you're right, rushing seems to be more of the norm now which makes it even harder at times to continue being patient.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks so much midget38! I agree things like Road Rage are poor excuses for just exemplifying simple patience in everyday life.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      5 years ago from UK

      A great parable of patience here, Alecia. You've illustrated this virtue with many wonderful narratives.. you say it well too. I think it is an essential gift to have the right amount of patience combined with the right amount of Impatience too. Good things do come to those who wait. Good that you remind us in this world where rushing seems to be the norm.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Alecia, so well said - the good things do come for those who wait. The examples you highlighted (Road Rage) are poor excuse for shirking the simple responsibility of waiting! Thanks for sharing!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I agree rajan, being patient bring many good things and should definitely be taught. Thank you so much for coming by, commenting, and sharing!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Alecia, being patient is the most difficult thing to do as everything is moving so fast. But it is a virtue that ought to be cultured. Because whatever it might lead to or not lead to it will definitely lead to health problems. Being highly strung has never been good for health.

      Excellent write. Voted up, useful and interesting. Shared too on FB.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Alocsin, ambiguity is a good thing.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks TToombs08! I can imagine that being a parent brings a new level of patience :).

    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm one of those people who is always rushing things to a conclusion. A friend of mine offered some excellent advice once "Appreciate ambiguity," which I believe you're saying in so many words. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Patience is a lesson I learn every day thanks to my 5 year old son, Collin. :) We have a motto in our house now, "We run on Collin time." *sigh* Great hub, voted up. :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you shampa!! I agree it's hard to take something we've learned and apply it after we've been exposed to the ills of life as we get older but it is very important to remain patient through any and every situation.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 

      6 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and interesting!

      You have done a wonderful job. From childhood we are taught to be patient but in reality how many of us are really patient. Hardly few. You have actually represented a very common subject in a very interesting and dignifying manner. Simply loved it.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I don't know why people are in a rush either, Christy but I wish they wouldn't be for everyone else's sake. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your points about calm driving are very important Alecia. I really do wonder why people are in such a rush. Thanks for sharing such valuable information here.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Pamela,

      Road rage is very important because like you said it affects others' lives. Thank you for coming by and commenting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina


      I agree road rage-as with any outrageous behavior has a root. But great for you that you can work in retail-I think it takes a real patient kind of person to work with people in that regard. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for reading!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Nell,

      I just think the difference in the pace and what needs to happen is why we're more patient at work sometimes. I agree at home, all I want to do is eat and relax but sometimes I have to remind myself to be patient. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Teaches12345,

      I think fast food isn't bad in moderation because sometimes you can't always go home and make a full meal but there are ways for us to compensate for that. It's all about thinking about what's right for you instead of convenient. Thanks for coming by and commenting.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Sunshine,

      There are so many ways to be patient but I think you're right patience is situational. Sometimes people cross a line when trying to test you instead of legitimately making you wait. Thanks for your insight and comments :)!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 

      6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      These were so many good examples of the need for patience. I especially tuned in to your thoughts on road rage because I've handled so many automobile accidents involving bodily injuries -- and death -- sometimes due to road rage, but hard to prove.

      Great hub. Voting up.

    • emilybee profile image


      6 years ago

      Patience is so important. I agree with you that road rage stems from impatient people. I can be very impatient at times but I think with age I've gotten much more patient, especially since I work in retail and impatient customers don't make me work harder or faster. If anything I go slower :) Great hub!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Alecia, I totally agree with you about having patience at work, I am totally different there. At home I have to do things so quickly, like cooking for example I just don't have the patience to cook, open a packet pop it in the micro and thats it! I have to virtually stop myself and slow down sometimes, you know what they say 'More haste, less speed'! lol!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I agree with your thoughts about patience, it is better to wait for things then to force it. As you mentioned, food is one area that really matters in regards to patience. Fast food is that and it does fill your need. However, slow-cooked, home-made food is the best and most nutritious. Patience is best.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I am impressed with the amount of patience I see when an employee has to be patient. Kudos to you Alecia! There are so many circumstances that I lack patience in and then there are many times that I am patient. I guess it all depends on my mood...if you know what I mean:)


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