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Patience Isn’t Always a Virtue

by Frame of Mind September 26, 2014

We often tell ourselves that we need to have patience. But in waiting for what we want and what we deserve, are we limiting ourselves?

Good things do not necessarily come to those who wait, yet often we tell ourselves that waiting is the right thing to do and the best option we have.

It’s no fault of ours that we consider patience to be a virtue. Starting at an early age, we are conditioned to wait our turn, to wait for dessert, to wait for summer vacation, to wait for Christmas day to open presents, etc. Waiting, waiting and more waiting.

As adults, we continue to justify waiting for many different reasons. We tell ourselves that we have to:

-Wait for true love to come our way
-Wait for a promotion
-Wait to take a vacation
-Wait to have children
-Wait to make a business decision
-Wait to quit our jobs
-Wait to get divorced
-Wait to spend money
-Wait to fire an employee
-Wait for our significant other to make things right
-Wait to move to another country
-Wait to get accepted to programs/events

In our efforts to wait patiently for what we want and what we deserve, are we limiting ourselves? Are we remaining in “neutral” because we are too scared to take action?

When we think that we are expected to wait, there are often many steps we could take instead:

In efforts to meet “the one,” we could be actively searching on dating sites, attending events and meeting friends of friends.

In order to secure a promotion, we could be collecting proof of our value and impact and arranging a time to have the conversation with our boss, or we could be upgrading our skills and taking on extra projects.

In preparation for a vacation, we could be searching for last minute deals and chatting with co-workers about responsibilities for when we are away.

In planning to have children, we could be figuring out what needs to be in place before we have kids and insuring that we can financially provide for their needs.

In preparation for a business decision, we could be figuring out what we could gain from the decision and what we could lose. We could be ensuring that the decision aligns with our values and we could be speaking with people who have made similar decisions.

In planning to quit our job, we could be stepping up our job search efforts, writing a resignation letter, making plans for our departure and helping those around us step into our shoes.

In deciding to get divorced, we could be working with a coach or therapist, addressing our issues and/or seeking advice from third-party professionals.

In moving towards making a large purchase, we could be shopping around to ensure that we have the best value for the product/investment, budgeting our money for the year and making sure the product/investment meets our long-term needs.

In planning to hire a new employee, we could be notifying our team about the decision, planning the designated responsibilities and placing job postings online.

In order to make things right with our significant other, we could take initiative to plan a date, a surprise or a romantic outing.

In planning to move to another country, we could be looking for job opportunities, submitting applications and applying for appropriate work permits.

In awaiting acceptance to a program or event, we could be planning the follow-up steps if we are accepted or seeking out other program opportunities to apply for if we aren’t accepted.

Before you tell yourself that “patience is a virtue,” take note of whether you are truly required to wait or if your delay represents a fear that ultimately prevents you from having what you want now. In some cases, waiting may be necessary, but in other cases, it may hint at some underlying limiting beliefs that you have about your abilities, your worth and your success.

When it comes to patience, it pays to ask yourself, “Am I patient or am I paralyzed?” You may be surprised by your answer.

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