Patience: Forgotten Value


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Patience: Forgotten Value

Patience is not a willingness to suffer and put up with problems, but the ability to accept the current situation and act farsightedly. Alas, in the modern world the value of this quality is almost forgotten. The psychiatrist and philosopher Neil Burton recalls how it benefits us.

English patience comes from the Latin patientia – “patience, endurance, submission” and ultimately from patere – “suffer”. By this word is meant steadfastness and equanimity in the face of adversity, whether it is a forced expectation, provocation, or even real misfortune or unbearable pain.

Patience is traditionally considered a virtue. One can even discern in it a whole set of good qualities – self-control, humility, tolerance, generosity, mercy. And without patience, hope, faith and love are hardly possible.

In Buddhism, patience refers to paramitas – “perfections.” Both here and in other religions, the principle of “do not respond with evil to evil” is associated with him. So, in the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul calls: “Be patient with all. See that no one gives evil to anyone for evil, but always look for good for each other and for everyone. ” In the book of the Proverbs of the Solomon you can find the following: “The patient is better than the brave, who owns himself better than the conqueror of the city.” According to Ecclesiastes, “… the patient is better than the arrogant. “Do not be hastened by your spirit to anger, because anger nests in the heart of fools.”

Impatience creates problems

The opposite of patience is, of course, impatience, inability or unwillingness to bear what we perceive as something negative, imperfect. We are impatient when we reject the present because it is “spoiled” and we want to replace it with a more ideal imaginary future.

While patience helps us to recognize that life is a struggle for each of us, impatience makes us neglect and even disdain human nature.

With impatience, impotence comes to us, leading to disappointment. But this is the wrong way. Impatience and frustration are pathetic, fruitless and lead to self-destruction, to rash and harmful actions. And sometimes, paradoxically, to procrastination or inaction, since putting off a difficult or boring task also means putting off the frustration that it will inevitably lead to.

Forgotten Virtue

Our society relies on individualism and materialism, and therefore, above all else, appreciates ambition and action – well, or at least activity. And patience involves deprivation and even a certain renunciation of oneself.

Technological advances only exacerbate the situation. Researchers found that about 50% of Internet users do not watch a video if it does not start playing within 10 seconds. Moreover, users with faster connections instantly leave the page if it did not immediately load the entire page. This suggests that technological advances actually undermine our patience.

We have privileged access to our thoughts, and therefore we tend to inflate their meaning

Neil Burton claims such restless impatience is a manifestation of manic protection. Its task is to prevent the emergence of feelings of helplessness and despair, therefore it distracts us with the help of pleasures, purposeful activities and total control.

The egocentric embarrassment, Burton believes, made patience difficult even in pre-technological times. “What it is? Each of us has privileged access to our thoughts, and therefore we tend to inflate their meaning. For example, feeling impatient in the queue, I believe that my time and goal are more significant than those of the people in front of me. Considering that I can successfully cope with the work of the cashier, I incinerate him with a look.

At the same time, I completely disregard that the woman at the checkout looks at what is happening differently and she has other skills and abilities. And while I can’t decide for myself whether to wait on the spot, to stand in a different line or even give up on shopping, my disappointment becomes a source of … new disappointment. “

Short-sighted decisions

Patience can be seen as a decision-making problem: for example, eat all the grains today or plant them in the ground and wait until there are more. “Unfortunately, in the course of evolution, people did not develop as farmers, but as hunter-gatherers, and therefore are not inclined to bet on long-term rewards,” Burton explains.

The fruits of the foresightedness of our ancestors are confirmed by the famous Stanford experiment with marshmallows. In the late 1960s and 1970s, Walter Michel conducted a series of studies of deferred satisfaction. The experiments conducted with hundreds of children aged 4-5 included a simple choice: eat this marshmallow now or wait 15 minutes and get a second one. After explaining the conditions to the child, the scientists left him for 15 minutes alone with sweetness. A minority of children could hold on and wait for the second marshmallow.

Patience involves much more than being able to hold back for future benefits.

Then, over 40 years, new observations were made. They showed that it was precisely this minority of children who later showed the best results in testing and achieved great success in life, they had more developed social skills and were not inclined to abuse psychoactive substances.

However, patience involves much more than just being able to restrain yourself for future benefits. His training can be compared to a diet or growing a garden. Yes, the key factor is expectation, but it is also important to develop a plan and work on its implementation.

Why patience is so necessary

As regards our relations with others, patience does not boil down to mere restraint or tolerance – we are talking about active participation that requires strength. At the same time, patience is one of the forms of compassion, thanks to which we begin to see friends and allies in people, instead of ignoring and repelling them.

If impotence is accompanied by impotence, then patience implies a force generated by understanding. Instead of making us hostages of luck and blind chance, it frees us from disappointment and its ailments. It gives peace and opens a perspective in which you can think, speak and do the right thing at the right time, without losing the ability to enjoy life.

And last but not least, patience allows us to achieve what it would be impossible to achieve without it. As Jean de Labruyère said: “There will be no way too long for someone who is moving deliberately and without undue haste. “Waiting for honors will not be too long for someone who prepares for them with patience.”

Burton emphasizes: patience is largely a matter of trust or even faith

Being patient is not the same thing as giving up and not protesting. It means acting thoughtfully, not impulsively. It also does not mean constant abstinence – just like aging a good wine for several years does not necessarily mean a complete rejection of wine in general during all this time. “Life is too short to wait, but not too short for patience,” Neil Burton said. “Patience is much simpler and even more pleasant if you really realize its benefits, what benefits it will bring to you and others.”

In 2012, the marshmallow experiment was repeated at the University of Rochester. This time, the participants were divided into two groups. Scientists deliberately deceived the children of the first. In the second, small participants were presented with evidence that the organizers were keeping their word. Further, during the experiment itself, participants from the second group showed more patience and waited on average four times longer than from the first.

In other words, Burton emphasizes, patience is largely a matter of trust or even faith.

About the Author: Neil Burton is a British doctor and author of several books, including The Meaning of Madness.
Prepared by: Elena Sivkova
Photo Source: Getty images

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