Most people have trouble being tolerant with others. As a living, breathing society, everyone is constantly learning and adapting to each other—it comes with the territory. But cultivating a spirit of tolerance can bring healing and meaning to your life in unimaginable ways.
Tolerance is your ability to deal with the disagreeable. It’s your capacity to withstand the “yuck” in your life and other people. Sometimes, someone’s disagreeable nature can simply be an annoyance, while other times, it may be much more intrusive.
The practice of tolerance, however, is more about your relationship with yourself instead of with other people. Tolerance can be thought of as emotional or mental perseverance:
- How long are you able to deal with the disturbances that others cause you?
- Are you able to do it with a spirit of grace and confidence?
- Do you prefer to be indifferent, ignoring the person or situation?
- If the behavior is unlikely to change, how do you deal with them?
These are questions that take time to consider. When you feel yourself intolerant of someone else, remember the following insights. They can help you deal with yourself and others in order to cultivate the benefits of a life filled with tolerance and stillness.
Own Your Feelings
When something bothers you about someone else, it is good to remember that it is bothering you. The other person may not even be aware of your feelings, let alone be prepared to change because of them.
Keep in mind that your feelings are your own and that you have the right to self-mastery in your life, just as the other person has sovereignty over themselves.
Try to see past the person and situation into your own annoyance. Look within yourself to find the source of your problem:
- Are you not receiving something that you want or need?
- Is the focus not on you?
- Is the other person saying or doing something that you wouldn’t allow yourself to do or say?
- Why are you annoyed?
Check Your Ego
Often other people are simply disrupting your flow. When your stillness is disturbed, your ego may desire to retaliate. A mental or emotional line is being crossed and therefore you feel frustrated. This inner tension can be your ego showing anger at the fact that your personal attention has shifted.
When you are bothered by other people, you are no longer focused on what you were doing. This is upsetting to the ego. Remember you are not your ego, but rather its source. By recognizing ego concern for what it is, you can cultivate the ability to limit the importance of some of the things you feel.
Meditation can help cultivate tolerance. You can learn to tolerate some things about others simply by discovering they’re just not that important. The things you take issue with don’t have to define the person or the experience.
By calming your spirit, you can learn to check yourself before reacting. Start by routinely checking in with yourself during stressful experiences or people. You will begin to react with more grace and patience and be able to offer the best version of yourself.
Remember Change Is Imminent
The universe is always changing, always happening. And as such, everything has its moment to be. You, also, can change from one moment to the next. This dynamism can be seen as a blessing when cultivating tolerance.
Be mindful of the fact that no matter how pestering an annoyance can be, it is only temporary. The majority of people in your life are only around you in certain circumstances or for a certain amount of time. Those closest to you only bother you at times, but are otherwise agreeable, or they wouldn’t be around.
Use Your Power
Put aside your raw, emotional reaction when dealing with frustrating experiences and you’ll find that the experience inherently must change. It is your attachment to the feelings behind the experience that allows it to linger.
You have the power to control how much an annoyance affects you. Even if something about a person bothers you, you can always shift your focus to more agreeable aspects of the person or experience.
Learn to allow life to bug you and then go away, without any lingering effects.
No matter how likeable you believe yourself to be, someone out there is or would be annoyed by you. With the numerous spectrum of thought and behavior among humans, it’s impossible to be accepted by all. Chances are, somebody has put up with you at some point. Ask yourself:
- Have I ever rubbed someone else the wrong way?
- How did they react?
Remember your own faults and that life has given you grace. Even in your worst times, someone has shown you kindness and patience. It will serve you well to pay that kind of grace forward.
Practicing patience with the disagreeable aspects of people in your life will help you become more tolerant. The universe allows room for all of your decisions and behavior, while working around them and through them. Seek to mimic this tolerance in your own life. Cultivate centeredness that will be there inside you through everything and everyone. It is empowering and noble.