Thursday, December 3, 2009

Patience and Impatience: both are curses and both are blessings

Start with a quote:

Patience is the support of weakness; impatience the ruin of strength.
Charles Colton

Day 84 - Yin Yang Socks!Image by Scootzsx via Flickr
I have been thinking about how in Eastern philosophies, there is a tolerance for explicitly integrating the contradictory, like how lightness and darkness are explicitly integrated in the Yin-Yang symbol.
Two seemingly contradictory character traits are patience and impatience.

Impatience can be a virtue when it propels you to make a positive change, because you cannot tolerate settling for less anymore.  Patience over a bad situation, when your freedom allows you to change, is a curse.  (Don't confuse outer constraints of liberty with inner freedom to choose your own response and choose your own meaning.  We are speaking of Viktor Frankl's "The Last Freedom".)

Patience can be a virtue when you forgive yourself for taking a step back, because, after a re-charge of energy and re-focusing of attention, you can take two steps forward.  Impatience, in that situation, can be a curse because it may make you catastrophize and become helpless because you are hopeless.

¿HabrĂ¡ suerte?Image by Alberto Casanova via Flickr
A shift between the ideal and realistic, back and forth, can be a mature way to grow in inner capability over years.
Both fostering the ideal as a goal to work towards, and fostering the realistic to maximize effectiveness in that work, are skills that can be improved.
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