Steps to Patience: What is “patience?”

image AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Jason Paluck

Today, I am considering what “patience” is, and what it is made of. We cannot aspire to attain something when we don’t know what that “something” is.

Turning to the Oxford-English Dictionary, we see these four versions:

“The calm, uncomplaining endurance of pain, affliction, inconvenience, etc.; the capacity for such endurance.”

“Forbearance or long-suffering under provocation; esp. tolerance of the faults or limitations of other people.”

“Calm, self-possessed waiting.”

“Constancy or diligence in work, exertion, or effort; perseverance.”

Depending on your individual circumstances, one or all of these could be the patience you are striving to achieve. The definitions lend themselves to creating criteria to pursue:  If you are trying to be patient about enduring a situation, you may want to cultivate calmness, endurance and “uncomplaining.” If you are dealing with difficult people around you, tolerance may be a goal. If you are trying to be patient for something that may arrive in the future, calmness and self-possession are your traits. The fourth definition is really another set of attributes: constancy, diligence, perseverance.

Where do you find calm? Where do you find endurance? Where do we draw the line between being “uncomplaining” and being authentic? How can we find tolerance for those around us? Where do we find self-possession in the face of want or high anticipation? What is the source of diligence?

Tomorow will bring us to those questions.


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