Is Patience Really a Virtue?


I am always in a hurry. I walk, read the news, and eat at the same time. I briskly pass people who are very slow on the street. I prefer to call because I don’t have the patience to wait for a text response.

I’ve been go go go since the day I was born; literally 10 minutes separated my birthplace being the passenger’s seat of a Jeep Cherokee from a hospital room.

I’m always in a hurry not because I’m perpetually late (that’s my mom), but because I just have things to do and people to see and I want to be as efficient as possible–I hate wasting time. I was always reminded of my impatience when people would say things like: “Sierra, if you’re patient, you’ll get dessert after dinner” or “Sierra, good things always come to those who wait” or “Sierra, you can’t just rush into things” and, of course, “Sierra, patience is a virtue”.

We hear that saying so often: patience is a virtue. Yet the older I get (and wiser, I hope), I wonder sometimes if having patience is truly worth it. I think something a lot of people struggle with is figuring out when to wait and when to let go.

When do you decide draw the line in the sand? How do you decide?

Think about a relationship. When do you wait for someone and when do you move on? Obviously, waiting for a toxic human being to not be toxic is so not worth it. But what if you’ve met someone, really hit it off, but the timing isn’t right. Do you ride it out until the timing is right? Or do you move on and possibly find someone better?

Think about a job. When do you decide to stick around and when do you say that’s enough and go? It can be tricky deciding whether to stay at a job or look for another because of the money element. If you’re stuck in a job you hate where you aren’t getting the recognition you deserve, maybe it’s time to go. But what if you’re really so so close to that promotion, and your roles are about to change from that grunt work you hate to something more meaningful?


The act of waiting is passive; you’re being affected by everything around you instead of affecting everything around you. The thought of moving on is usually hard for us since we’re headed out into the unknown, hoping to find something better. Moving on can allow us to focus on our own happiness and goals, and possibly lead us to that better place and minimize time wasted focusing on something else. Moving on makes us active in our lives and allows us to take charge.

There are times when it clearly makes sense to be patient (waiting in traffic, for example) and times when it clearly makes sense to move on (a toxic relationship). Trying to find that line in the sand can be painful, confusing, and scary, but the decision to wait or to move on is one that can really only be made by you. The circumstances of the situation are complex, and only you really know what is best for you.