In a fast-paced world, patience can be an underrated skill. But it is an essential one to learn if we are to find peace, says Najla Al Tenajii
Saint Augustine said, ‘Patience is the companion of wisdom.’ He clearly didn’t live in the era of one-click ordering and next-day delivery. We know, deep down, that all good things take time, yet we live in a fast-moving society where consumerism is driving everything to become instant. We need everything now, and with one click of a button. Waiting is challenging and time can feel excruciating when we are forced to wait for something we really want. But patience is not something we learn quickly. It is a hard-earned skill that comes with age and lots of focus and practice.
The ability to wait requires self-discipline and a strong capacity for endurance. Life taught me this invaluable skill the hard way. Patience was the consolation prize for suffering – a useful coping skill developed in the worst way. Because while it was natural to find myself frustrated when day after day was spent in bed, feeling little hope for recovery or the chance to get back to everyday life, my journey taught me that frustration is not the key to any door worth going through. I learned then that patience is a lifelong practice. Many years in rehabilitation – patiently waiting for recovery, hours spent staring at a single view from the window – taught me that patience is really about faith. It is about waiting for my turn, knowing that turn will come one day.
Many times, in our lives, our problems can seem overwhelming. However, those who have mastered the art of true patience are able to bear their trials calmly. Patience is an inward game that leads to greater wisdom.
When we are impatient, we are easily disappointed. We become distressed, angry and pessimistic with ourselves for our slow pace of growth and change. We blame ourselves and others and act in ways unhelpful to our lives. In doing this, we risk damaging our relationships, our careers and other things that are important to us. We waste energy lamenting things not going our way rather than noticing what is. We give up too quickly. We ignore positive gains and see the cup as half-empty. And yet impatience is so often encouraged in our world – even rewarded.
Once we learn to transform frustration into peace, life changes in the most wonderful way. For me, patience is an underrated superpower. Now, after many years of practice, I have built a robust and friendly connection with patience. It has even become something of an inner spiritual blessing. I know that everything will come with time. In God’s time, not mine.
Patience has taught me to sit back and take a deep, liberating breath in times of difficulty. Conquering frustration transforms our inner voice, making us powerful, calm and optimistic about handling day-to-day stresses.
This practice has helped in my healing journey like nothing else. When I really understood and adopted patience, I stopped complaining and began to see my problems differently. Patience offered me the chance to stand back and see fact and truth rather than getting stuck in my emotions. It is a pause button when you need it most. Ultimately, it gives you time to reflect on what is happening, and to respond as your best, most wise self.