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Tolerance & Tolerability

compassionMy old nemesis, intolerance, has been rearing its head again recently.

A little bit directed towards me, but mostly I’ve been observing it in people around me. And, if I’m completely honest, I’ve been directing a bit of intolerance outwards too.

Time to pay attention and look within.

But as well as examining my own intolerance, I’ve been thinking about what makes situations tolerable or intolerable on a universal level. And I’ve concluded that what looks like people (myself included) putting up with “intolerable” situations, is really just us deluding ourselves—and granting others the power to disturb our peace.

We are labelling outer circumstances—which we can’t control—as intolerable, instead of recognising the intolerance within us.

And in case of any confusion, when I speak of “tolerance” I don’t mean it in any martyr-like fashion. I don’t really consider tolerance to mean a willingness to put up with bad behaviour in the sense of letting others off the hook. For me, true tolerance is about having compassion for others—seeing past the surface behaviour to the spirit beneath, which may be in turmoil at this time. Accepting that everyone is doing the best they can in any given moment. Allowing others to be themselves, to make mistakes. And choosing to send love to a person or situation that is disturbing us.

I also believe that whatever interactions we’re experiencing with others—especially those closest to us—are often mirroring whatever is going on for us emotionally.

As within, so without.

So it follows, if I’m coming up against a lot of intolerance in my world, then it must also be active within me—at some level, around some issue.

“We do not see the world as it is. We see it as we are.” ~ Anais Nin

The uncomfortable truth is that a situation is “tolerable” or “intolerable” in direct proportion to our own levels of tolerance or intolerance.

Click here to read the rest of this article on elephantjournal.com


Photo by Kirsten Stiles/Flickr

Posted in Attitude, Challenge, elephant journal, Happiness, transformation, Well Being

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