Patience Is A Virtue

By Brigitte Shipman | June 4, 2021. | Autism, Mother Guide, Patience, Life Lessons

When I was much younger, I heard the proverbial phrase, patience is a virtue, and thought it was interesting but I never really applied it. It was a moment where I thought, “I wonder what that really means.” I just knew it was a good quality and that I hoped that I was patient. 

The truth is I was not patient when I was younger. I was not tolerant of others when it came to waiting in line, certain conversations, and also not with myself with weight loss, not placing first in sporting events, and pretty much any and everything. I was not patient with the world in general.

As I moved through my life and lessons of living on this earth presented themselves, I began to understand why being patient is virtuous. It was much deeper than being nicer or kinder to people. It was about empathy, and in fact I learned that I could become better at it. I realized that it was a skill and that if I practiced being patient, I would become not only kinder but also happier.

Oxford Languages defines patience as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. When I deeply ponder this definition, I understand that being patient is a quality that I want to master in my life. My son Joseph became my first master teacher on how to become a patient person. He taught me how to put my needs on hold and to slow down to assess what was happening in the moment rather than getting angry or upset.

My son has taught me that in all situations there is a solution and that no matter how awful the moment feels, it too shall pass. When he was an infant he cried most of his first 3 months of life. That does not sound like a very long time but when you are living without deep patience, it feels like an eternity.

He threw what felt like random high-level tantrums when I thought he would find joy in a new experience. Joseph taught me that although there were great intentions for beautiful experiences on my part, he was living his own life with his own needs. I was his mother who believed that what made me happy as a child would also make Joseph happy. What I learned was that it’s not all about me and my perspective of what happiness looks like. 

Did he enjoy some of our adventures? Yes, he loved going to the zoo, swinging at the park, music and art but he needed to experience life differently. I learned that I needed to become patient at the deepest level. I learned how to slow down, take a breath, and find another way. A way that gave us both relief, joy, and peace.

When someone says to me that they appreciate my patience, I value that as an affirmation that my skill in patience has improved. I am now a patient person. Do I have room to sharpen this skill even more? Absolutely!

I want to share some simple practices that can offer you more patience:

  • Slow Down. If you are feeling like you are at the very end of your own patience, take a breath. Now take a deeper breath and continue until you feel yourself calming down at that moment. 
  • Add a mantra for these moments. I used the mantra: This Too Shall Pass. I often would chant it to myself until I regained enough patience to get through the situation. 
  • Tell yourself that there is a reason for each stressful moment. You may not know what the solution is at the moment but know that there is one. You will find it but for now just get through with love for yourself and your child.
  • Be kind to yourself at the end of each stressful episode. Take a moment and notice how well you did under any overwhelming circumstance. We can always improve but also value when you do improve your skill.
  • Do something, anything to re-energize each and every day. I choose workouts, or hot baths, or an hour or 2 with my besties. Whatever it is, make an effort to fill yourself back up.

Remember that patience is a virtue and we all need it. We all need to have more of it to offer others and to ourselves. We also need others to offer patience to us when we challenge other people in our lives. 

I want to thank my son for teaching me how to be a more patient person. 

Patience is a Virtue.

Autism Guide Brigitte Shipman Coach

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