How to be Patient in a World of Instant Gratification

We’ve all heard “Patience is a virtue”, but does that matter in today’s world?

Let’s be real: society today encourages us not to wait.

With technology rapidly growing, we can have things delivered to us within hours thanks to Amazon Prime. We have a whole library of information at our fingertips thanks to Google. We can share our experiences and stories with our friends, family, and strangers within seconds thanks to social media. The list could go on.

Unfortunately, because we’ve been taught not to be patient, we’re quick to speak without thought or fact. We’re quick to act without reason. We’re quick to make purchases when we don’t have the money. We’re quick to jump into new relationships when things aren’t working our way with the previous one. We have drugs to help us with things we don’t want to naturally fix on our own. And yet again, this list of sad truths could go on. The amount of deep mental, emotional, and financial issues that stem from this are abundant.

Think about how many times you’ve seen this: you go to the store and see a child throwing a fit because they want a certain toy. The parent argues for a bit with the tantrum child. The parent gives in and tosses the toy in the cart to make the child happy. Or perhaps you’ve seen pre-teens begging for the latest smartphone saying their current phone or device isn’t good enough.

We’re raising a generation to have what they want, when they want it, and not giving them a reason to work for it. Patience is completely absent.

Patience isn’t a personality trait. It’s unnatural for us as humans to accept it, but we can learn, develop, test, and grow our character with it. Our lives would radically change and improve with this virtue. This is what I’ve learned.

Patience makes us wiser with our relationships.

My friends joke around with my level of patience. My husband and I were together for 7 years before getting engaged and married. Many people ask why on earth it took so long, but to me, I had no issues with waiting. We weren’t in the same city for 5 years of that relationship. Plus, I was still figuring out what I wanted and who I was. I was learning about his strengths and flaws as well.

The biggest reason I practiced patience here was because I was still healing. When I started college, I was in love with my high school sweetheart. A year later, due to family conflict, we split and I was devastated beyond belief. Without hesitation, I began dating around to suppress the depression. I wanted to feel loved. I wanted to feel appreciated. I always had a boyfriend after that. But unfortunately not having patience lead to serious issues.

I was in two long awful relationships back to back. I was cheated on multiple times, emotionally and verbally abused time and time again. It caused a lot of damage to my spirit and mind, and, if I were to be 100% honest, I’m still coping with those scars today.

I see so many people doing the same thing as I did. With apps that show us finding a match is as easy as swiping right based on a profile picture, this teaches us to test character and compatibility before becoming vulnerable with another person. At the end of the day, we all want to be loved, but we aren’t willing to wait to find someone worth our love.

Practicing patience teaches us to be wise with our relationships. It teaches us to learn about one another AND ourselves. It teaches us to focus on the important aspects of a relationship, not just feelings. It teaches us to stop and communicate and find solutions to issues.

Patience teaches us to enjoy our surroundings.

When was the last time you disconnected from your smartphone, tv, computer, video games for more than an hour? Or perhaps a day? When was the last time you took a walk, left your phone behind, and enjoyed your surroundings? It’s probably been a while, right?

Listen, I’m guilty of it too. I always have my phone on me, even when I’m walking the dog. As a photographer, I’m constantly taking photos. It’s why I love Instagram. I love looking at everybody’s photos. I’ve discovered so many great local places and met so many cool people from it.

Lately, I’ve noticed this new trend for Instagram, and I’m seeing it be taught and encouraged by #instafamous people. Leaders are teaching that to gain more followers, you must take styled photos and curate your feed. It’s taught to have a theme with certain colors to represent your brand. It’s taught to make your feed look perfect.

I can’t stand this.

What I show on Instagram is what I’m seeing in the moment! I’m looking for the beauty of where I am in that time. Yes, I’d love 10K followers, but I also want to be genuine with them. I don’t post as much on there as I used to. I’m taking the time to enjoy my surroundings instead of walking into a place thinking, “How can I Instagram this moment so I gain 5 followers?”

Patience teaches us not to rush moments or miss out on life. It teaches us to slow down and appreciate what is happening in the very moment.

This movie clip from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one of my favorites:

Patience gives us hope in times of hardship.

Everyone always prays/asks for patience. Then enters hardship. Patience determines your attitude and actions in these situations.

You can either act immediately and try to do everything yourself or you can take your time to accept brokenness, learn from your surroundings, and move forward knowing that now may not be the right time, but you’ll conquer this season and hopefully never fall back into it again with what you’ve taken from it.

Patience gives us hope; it lets us see light in darkness. In the mystery that life is, it reminds us that better things are to come. Patience strengthens not only our character, but our ability to love. You’ve probably heard the famous bible verse starting out with “Love is patient.” It’s true.

If you want to learn how to love, you must be willing to have patience. Want to put it to action? Have a child or get a dog. I’m serious. I don’t have children, so I can’t really speak for that. But I will say I’ve seen my friends grow SO MUCH in patience and love from when I knew them before kiddos. I give props to my parents for how much they put up with me!

Owning a dog has wrecked my world in the best way possible. Nothing teaches you patience like potty training a puppy or taking the dog on a walk when you have to be somewhere in 10 minutes and they take their sweet-ass time finding a spot to go to the bathroom. Hudson, our chocolate lab, has taught my husband and I patience time and time again with his crazy antics. He can annoy us so much, but when we choose to be patient with him, those moments are the best. They typically end in laughter. Being patient with him has not only made us love him more, it’s taught Jon and I how to be more patient with one another. Patience and love go hand in hand.

Patience is an absolute necessity in the world we live in today. It can help prevent us from many hurts and pains. It can prevent us from failing businesses or going into debt. It can help our society grow in positive ways.

What would our lives look like if we took the time out of our busy days to disconnect? What if we took the time to understand that our hardship could benefit us in the future? How would our lives change if we weren’t constantly rushing to get the latest and greatest thing?

If you can’t remember the last time you practiced patience, it’s time to disconnect and switch things up.

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