Patience Is a Virtue

Why this phrase is important for us all

By Amy Sullivan, PsyD

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Have you ever tried repeating the proverbial phrase, “patience is a virtue?”

I repeat the phrase quite often, especially when I feel torn between all of my responsibilities to my family, career and self-care.

Of all of my roles, parenting 6-year-old twins tests this virtue the most. My husband and I have created spitting images of ourselves, both in appearances and personality ― a true testament to nature vs. nurture.

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Our son looks and behaves just like my husband. However, he recently tested my competitiveness and thus my patience when he apologized to a soccer opponent after stealing the ball and going for a goal. As to not react to a 6-year-old, I literally had to step away and walk around the soccer field to process what had just happened.

Our daughter, my mirror image, has a perfectionist nature and her mother’s nervous laugh. Have you ever tried to discipline a child while she laughs nervously at your discipline attempt? It’s trying to say the very least. I remind myself that laughing is a form of stress management when she does this.

What personality traits test you? Do you have self-awareness of characteristics in others that trigger you?

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Patience is a virtue when it keeps us from becoming upset or triggered by personality differences/quirks of others. Take some time regularly to gain awareness of the personality traits that trigger you.

Take it one step further and practice patience in the face of adversity.