I’m not sure I like tolerance very much, probably because I overdo it. A bit of a default position of mine that leaves me feeling taken advantage of and then resentful. Interestingly though, I would always choose tolerance over intolerance due to the impact the latter has.
We see it on the news every day shown through the behaviour of others, leaving us reeling in shock and outrage – until the next story is aired.
​Somewhere between tolerance and intolerance lies the sweet spot, and we need to find it. The problem is as life ramps up and ‘pressure on people’ screams loudly for attention, it becomes harder to do.
The busier we get, the more important our time becomes until its suddenly frustrating rather than funny to be squeezed into a corner at the Xmas do by the office idiot with bad breath. When we’re tired and stressed, tolerance has left the building, so it becomes quite the challenge to send out a search party and find it.

Tolerance works overtime at Christmas due to the fact:

  • We are required to spend time with people we don’t like that much
  • We are required to spend our hard -earned money on those people
  • We are required to be pleasant and welcoming to them
  • We are required to wait on people, put up with John’s ‘unfunny’ jokes and feign interest in Aunt Mary’s gardening club stories
  • We are tired and grumpy and just want to be on that beach, looking out to sea and imagining our lifestyle once we’ve won Lotto

Sound familiar?
We can get through this by building our tolerance muscle, strengthening it so it’s strong and weight bearing, and part of who we are. We can all be better at tolerance like letting someone interrupt us or waiting while an elderly person attempts using a credit card at the supermarket. Tolerance is partly being aware of others and partly accepting who people are.
But it’s also about recognising when and why we’re running low on it.

What is less known about tolerance is its overuse, when we don’t have the courage to deal with a situation or set limits with someone who treats us badly. By acting tolerant we escape taking the action we should be, and hide behind the smile feeling annoyed instead. What if instead we recognised our frustration and thought about why. It could be that we have outgrown that person and are needing to set some long overdue limits. We are fed up with being taken for granted, or having their negativity and frustration taken out on us. Perhaps being less tolerant is a good sign we are becoming healthier as tolerating others’ bad behaviour becomes more unacceptable, alongside realising we don’t have to take it anymore.

​The other less known fact about tolerance is that overuse is a sign of low self-esteem. We feel that continuing to be kind in our thoughts and deeds to everyone is appropriate, when really if we’re being disrespected it’s not okay, and definitely not good for us. For starters we’re not being true to ourselves. We need to direct some of that love and generosity to ourselves. We need to value who we are in managing life’s many challenges. Tolerance then resonates at the right level, the one where our value is respected. It takes work but it can be done. The first step is recognising where we sit on that scale.
Something to consider might be:
Are you too tolerant, not tolerant enough or do you have it about right?  You’ll know, because of how you feel. If you’re feeling happy and secure in relationships and friendships, you’ve probably nailed this tolerance thing. If not, New Year’s Eve is coming up…….

This week trust your instincts around others.
Be kind to yourself.
You’ve got this.

Have a fabulous weekend in the build up to the 25th
Merry Xmas everyone
See you next year!

Gloria Masters
Gloria Masters
[email protected]
1 Comment
  • Avatar
    Posted at 12:13h, 10 January Reply

    Great that you have wrtten this and I look forward to reading it. I know it seems petty but do not forget the apostrophe ie. On Angel’s Wings
    You deserve all the very best in your latter life to try to compensate, even in a very small way, for the horrific trauma in your early years.
    I genuinely hope life is working out well for you.

Post A Comment