Why Patience is a Virtue

“How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”

William Shakespeare


I was a partial stoic for a long time. More than a decade. I prayed and asked in my prayers, over and over again, when things would change for me, how to heal from bad situations and to grow. I did do a lot for myself to the best of my ability.

Also certain events had to align. So I tried to remain patient while waiting for the good things to emerge.

I hoped that it would happen, some day. It eventually did.

Patience and Cultural Make-Up

When I was a new immigrant to the United States, there was a huge disconnect between my personal set of beliefs and those of some people I met. I think there was a huge cultural divide between myself and this group. Maybe it was partially my Asian background and Indian ethnicity and experience, that caused the disconnect.

I think the disconnect was partially because the entire concept of patience and deliberate observation, are not perceived as strengths by some people in this country. I do not know for sure. This particular group of people always wanted things from me, right now.

In Asia, patience and composure are considered strengths. So one worked as hard as one could and then waited for results. No drama. My mother, herself an Indian immigrant to Singapore, put it across best when she used to say to me,”Work up to your maximum ability and then leave the rest to God.” I had to strike a balance between what I knew was a strength and what some people wanted to see in me.

I wanted to be accepted in the United States, but I also had my own inherent cultural make-up. It was hard. Eventually, I grew and molded myself into this chameleon-like person for work and my social life.

The True Wisdom and Value of Patience

If we fight that which is much bigger than ourselves, even after we have had indicators that we are to wait, we are being foolish and reckless. We do not appreciate the wonder of being small and insignificant. We do not humble ourselves and accept that we can only do so much.

Sometimes our patience is misunderstood as lethargy, weakness and a lack of assertiveness. But truly, there are certain things that we need to wait for.

The thing about being patient and waiting, is that it is often a lonely activity. And people don’t stand around watching us bide our time. Being patient isn’t glamorous. People are out there, being ‘go-getters’ and grabbing their opportunities.

People may even take advantage of our patience and perseverance, because their plans fail and we become their scapegoats. But that is their problem and not ours. The key for us, is to be able to identify when to be patient and when to go out there and just do it.

The Opportunities and Gifts

There are times when we have no choice but to be patient. The mutations of Covid-19 prove we can’t defy a force so strong. We must take all appropriate measures presented to us by all means. And then wait out the storm. We might not find this easy to accept.

The universe sometimes requires us to be patient and wait. I believe this is because we are at the mercy of larger forces at certain points in time. There are things we can do and absolutely must do. And then, there are things we have to wait for universal forces to provide. We cannot will it. Because we must accept ultimately, that we are mere mortals and only hold so much power as individuals and as mere human beings.

So, what do we do while we are waiting? Is this then a vacuum in time? No. It is not. This wait is an opportunity to work on ourselves in so many ways. In the scheme of things, we need to re-fuel and restore our internal energy. We are like gas tanks. We need that fuel of the spirit from within. So we nurture ourselves. We look after our mental health. We feed our souls.


At the end of the day, we need to be wise enough to distinguish between times when we must act and times when we are to wait patiently. Imagine the gift of peace and healing we receive, if only we have the wisdom to know when to act and when to wait. Aren’t these gifts ultimately worth waiting for?

yellow wait signage
A traffic signal showing ‘Wait’, requiring patience and as a way to protect pedestrians from cars
Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

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