My beloved sister-in-law once told me that I am the most patient, tolerant person that she knows. While there are many days where I am sure some would beg to differ (including myself), I do admit to being accepting and tolerant of most people and situations. It does, however, depend on the day and the situation and maybe even my own mood. All of those things act as the gauge to my reactions to different things. And certainly, some days in themselves are more tolerable than others. Generally, though, I guess in self-reflection, I try to make an honest effort to give others the benefit of the doubt, to think before I speak (or type!), and to be patient and tolerable of others. Not everyone has the same beliefs, values, and opinions that I have and I try to respect that difference. I try to remember that everyone has their own battles which they are fighting and I don’t walk in anyone else’s shoes but my own. I try to remember those things – but I often fall short as well. Some days are better than others in many ways.
However, I will admit that there are also many things to which I am intolerable as well – namely bullying, insults, cruelty, and anything that hurts my children, my family, or my friends. Those are things which I don’t believe that anyone should stand for. Speaking for others who cannot speak for themselves, caring about others and wanting what’s best for them, being happy for and being generous with our words of support for others are all things which ADD to the richness and quality of our lives. Nothing is lost in giving praise; all the more is gained.
So, what happens in between tolerance and intolerance? How does the move between these two occur?
I’d have to say that the “in between” is usually when we finally realize that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We can be tolerant of certain things only for so long before they start to wear us down. Yes, we should forgive seventy times seven and turn the other cheek, but we have also been blessed with thinking minds that direct us into making decisions about what is just and right.
(photo courtesy of nocompulsion.com)
The following are some issues which often lead us from tolerating to being intolerant:
Being taken for granted or taken advantage of
I think we have all been there. We have all had someone or some “ones” in our life who have taken us for granted or even taken advantage of us. The “taking” may occur once or twice, maybe even more than that. We may have become a doormat for others to walk on or over, but there usually comes a point when we tire of others wiping their feet on us. We become intolerant of their inability to say thank you, to appreciate, and to reciprocate without wanting something in return. We decide to speak up for ourselves and make it known that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated. Sometimes this speaking up is respected and we receive better treatment, and sometimes it is met with confrontation and conflict.
Being the target of someone else’s jealousy and envy
Jealousy can rear its ugly head and turn otherwise pleasant people into something else. Words, comments, even conversations spoken behind our backs can lead us to feeling hurt and betrayed. Those words also say something about the person or people speaking them. It’s easy to fall into the trap, I will completely agree. AND I will also admit that I am not without fault here as well. Too often I am tempted into questioning how others can “fall into a pile of you-know-what and still come out smelling like a rose”. It’s hard, too, when things don’t come as easily for us as they seem to for others. Where intolerance comes in is when these jealous episodes continue to occur even when we’ve made an effort to put an end to them. We start to become intolerant of others who cannot seem to be a positive aspect of our lives.
Being a misused, abused, or betrayed
Sometimes we grow used to being treated a certain way by others that we do not recognize that the behavior has become abusive, either emotionally or physically. We tolerate the behavior because it is “normal” to us. The truth is that abuse in any form does not need to be tolerated. Betrayal can also be devastating and can rock our world, not necessarily in a positive way. Sometimes it can take a long time to fully forgive and heal from this type of hurt. And, yes, sometimes, we may even decide that the betrayal is too great, or there have been too many untruths to allow trust to grow again. Sometimes we even become intolerant of friendships which have grown one-sided and represent too much negativity in our lives.
The move from tolerance to intolerance is not always a conscious choice. It doesn’t usually happen that we wake up one morning and decide that we will not tolerate certain things or behaviors any longer. Intolerance usually comes after much hurt, pain, and even heartache. We can even flip back and forth from intolerance to tolerance with certain issues over the course of days, months, or years. Tolerance, intolerance, and what happens in between usually boils down to one thing – a realization and clarity of the awareness that enough is finally enough.
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