Patience – What is it anyway?

If you read my blog, you will know that very often I focus on what nature teaches me here and especially as I take my early morning walk along the beach.  This morning I left hurriedly from my home. When I stumbled over a stone on the road, I realized that I was hurrying to reach the beach to experience the tranquility I knew was waiting for me there. My impatient attitude was clearly not helping me feel calm and relaxed at that moment and might even cause me to fall.

“Be patient”, I scolded myself. “The beach is not going anywhere, nor is the ocean, so why are you rushing?” Then I heard my mother’s voice in my head saying, “Patience is a virtue”. As a child I heard her say this often. She was no doubt saying this to herself, having 2 children to get ready when something was planned, and a husband who always kept us waiting

I began to think about what that means. What is Patience anyway? What is a virtue? Do I have it or not? As I walked along the sand I began to notice things around me that demonstrated “patience”. I saw the heron sitting motionless staring out at the ocean. For the heron it is a skill necessary for its survival. It looks out at the ocean for signs of fish swimming and heeds that signal for it to fly out and dive for its food. The fisherman standing in the ocean is waiting patiently with his cast net coiled and ready to throw when a school of fish approach in the oncoming waves.

The beach vendors were cleaning and setting up their areas with their optimistic patient attitude that it will be a good business day.

When I returned home I opened my computer and began to research the word patience.

The first site I chose offered this meaning of the quote “Patience is a virtue”. This reference stated that “patience is a skill worth learning and a valuable tool in life”. It also suggested that “it is a fact that patience is hard to acquire for most people and difficult to master”. 

I then looked for a definition of the word virtue, since it seemed to me to be more like a value learned and chosen by a person to guide their life actions. The Cambridge Dictionary defines virtue as “a good moral quality in a person or the general quality of being morally good”.

Further search provided tips for developing and practicing the skill, or demonstrating the value in action, such as, being more agreeable, having more self-esteem, being more productive, and even having better health both mentally and physically.

Personally, I am ready to admit that I do need more practice. I know how to deep breathe but under stress I do not always use that skill. I also tell myself to relax, and to think positive thoughts. My beach walk in the morning gives me the best environment to practice.

How about you? Would you describe yourself as a patient person? What can you share that would help others learn this skill? Please comment.


Below, I have listed the references I found, and just for fun, have included a video of Simon and Garfunkel, singing, Feeling Groovy, which says it all.


  • Simon & Garfunkel, Feeling Groovy