What is the purpose of patience?

By Jade Lizzie | Published: October 17, 2016 | Last updated: October 20, 2016

This is a great question! We all know that “patience is a virtue,” but why is it a good thing to cultivate more of? What purpose does being more patient serve?

I like to think of patience as a teacher. There is a lot that happens in our lives and the wider world that we cannot control the pace of, no matter how much we want to. Even people who are into the power of manifestation say that the thing that you can’t control is when your manifestations will come into being. In other words, even with all the creative power in the world, we still need patience.

Grounding Force

In some ways, then, patience is a grounding force in our lives. Patience reminds us that even if we are infinitely powerful and creative, we are not in control of absolutely everything. Sometimes we have to work for our goals and manifest our dreams, while letting go of the deadlines. We can learn to surrender, and trust that things will happen without trying to force them to arrive at the pace we dictate. This can be a humbling yet potentially liberating lesson. (Read more in The Freedom in Letting Go.)

Mastery Over Monkey Mind

Patience also helps us to gain mastery over our monkey mind. Our mind wants the world to move as fast as we do – as soon as we desire something, our mind wants it – right here, right now. Patience teaches us to slow down. It helps us not to get caught up in the immediacy of the demands of our mind, and, instead, to take a step back and just observe them. Maybe we find that we still want the thing and the time waiting just sharpens our appreciation of it, or maybe we find that the desire fades, and we recognize that its grip on us was just an illusion.

Flowing Flexibility

Finally, patience can help us understand that our agenda and timescale is not always the best or right way. It’s certainly not the only way. It teaches us to go with the flow and be flexible. If we can do that, we can learn to be happy whatever curve balls life throws our way. Imagine, for example, that you are waiting for a colleague to finish a task before you can continue with a project. Rather than harassing them for their work, having patience gives you the chance to step back and reassess your role in the project. You may discover a different path forward, you may find something else you can do to maximize the impact of your colleague’s contribution, or you may simply find that giving them time to do the job well means the end result is of higher quality. (Learn more in 5 Yoga Virtues that Create Success.)

So, patience offers many benefits and can teach us a lot of lessons. Whenever you find opportunities to cultivate patience, do so, and see where it takes you. It’s powerful stuff. (Read on in Patience Really Is a Virtue.)


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Written by Jade Lizzie | Yoga teacher, writer and health and wellness geek.

Jade Lizzie

Jade is a yoga teacher, blogger and health and wellness geek. Her mission is to share the happiness that yoga has brought into her life.

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