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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good and Bad Qualities -Different Sides of the Same Coin?

Here is something that I observed recently.

Patience is often considered a virtue. My boyfriend has a lot of it (one of his many great qualities). I have almost none of it.

For a long time I've seen my lack of patience as a fault, but now I'm starting to see that both patience and lack of patience have benefits and both have drawbacks.

It is because of his patience that my boyfriend is able to remain calm through difficult situations and take steady, well planned steps into the future. But because he has patience he also weighs and measures what he's going to do slowly and carefully, perhaps wasting time or opportunity.

It is because of my lack of patience that I am able to improve myself and my life so rapidly. As soon as I want to try something, change something, do something new, I am acting on that impulse within a few hours. Once I have a thought, that thought becomes a plan before the day is over.

So, I don't miss out on opportunity and am able to improve my life quickly. And I think the downsides to a lack of patience are well known! I sometimes have a manic quality because I want to do everything and do it right now. I have trouble with impulse control and delaying gratification (studies have shown that children who are able to delay gratification grow into more stable and happy adults). Also, I might leap into things I'm not ready for or that turn out to be a mistake because I didn't consider carefully.

What other virtues or faults do you think encompass both a good side and a bad side?


  1. My husband and I are the same way! He's very laid back, and lets things happen as they happen. I'm extremely impatient. Gradually, over the course of the marriage, he's learned to be more decisive and I've learned to be more patient, but it's been tough going. I think it's worth sticking it out!

    I think another good side/bad side set of virtues is planning vs. spontaneity. I am terrible at being spontaneous. I have to plan each little thing I do, and if the plan falls through, I'm dissatisfied until I come up with a new one. My best friend is exactly the opposite - she does things on a whim, plans at the very last minute, and tends to get less stressed about things when they don't work out the way she anticipated. She's taught me the importance of "going with the flow" and not needing to plan every little thing, and she's learning how to plan more things in advance, so that the points in her life that need careful forethought are considered in advance (like renewing a passport, which she learned is very hard to do last-minute).

    This is probably a different form of patience/impatience, but often can unfold very differently.

  2. I have the same mix in my marriage. My husband ponders everything cautiously, meanwhile...i am racing past. Very much agree with you about this. Both are a blessing and a curse(depending on the day):P

  3. Do you think this is rajas vs sattva?

  4. In regards to this post, we have a bit in common, lol. I am beyond impatient and impulsive, but I prefer the term "driven" because of all the positive things I've accomplished, usually in relatively short periods of time, that can be attributed to these two so-called negative qualities, like earning my 2 years. My husband is also more of the slow, quiet, methodological type.
    I also have issues with impulse control and always prefer instant gratification if it's available (making fasting for events like Vasanta Navaratri a major ordeal).
    All of this has lead me to wonder if I'll ever "settle down" and feel physically/mentally/spiritually satiated

  5. Rajas v.s. Sattva. Very interesting thought. I've always seen myself as a naturally Tamasic person, yet this impatience does have a Rajasic feel to it. That could definitely be.

    Tandava, do you see Sattva as the ultimate guna, the one we should all be aiming for, or do you think it's good to have a mix of gunas and that Rajasic and Tamasic things are not necessarily bad?

    Melisa, I like that word "driven." lol. I certainly do get a lot accomplished. My friend said she admires about me that I "don't let grass grow under my feet."

    I think there is always more to learn in life. There is no finish line that we will reach and be set for the rest of our lives with where we are. There's always more to learn and more ways to grow!

    Planning and Spontaneity are a good example. I think I'm actually somewhere on the middle on that one. I love to plan, but I also have a spontaneous side too.

  6. There are so many qualities that are virtues, but also have their downsides. People who are "very focussed," might make things happen the way they want, but they often miss out on things because they can't be bothered with anything they find to be trivial. Optimism is a great quality, but I do find that optimists tend not to be realists... ... so reality hits hard. although pesimists are quite negative, they do/can help you plan for the worst, if you can harness their thoughts without being too overwhelmed by their negativity. Sometimes being so grounded in one's faith or ideas is a good thing, it provides stability and comfort, but it can leave no room for opposing views. One who sees mostly relativity and no absolutes is quite openminded, but they might continuously change which many times leads to instability and many times people wonder about their commitment. One who is quite committed doesn't know when to abandon ship. Being an independent thinker is quite virtuous, but it can also lead to pridefulness and many times, you stand alone. Just some thoughts.