Stop tolerating and start living

Bird Flight on Sea

The word ‘tolerance’ just crossed my mind today and I could not stop thinking about it. Simply because like many, I think I spend a less than healthy chunk of my life tolerating instead of living. I am referring to the word defined as  ‘the act of capacity of enduring’ rather than the other that describes ‘a fair, objective and permissive attitude toward opinions, beliefs and practices that differ from one’s own.’

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy

At various times in my life, I tolerated the presence of non-productive beliefs and habits such as negativity, worry and stress. I tolerated the expectations and status-identity foisted upon me because that was what most people do. I tolerated the existence of physical clutter that added little joy or value but took up space in my life and tied me down. I tolerated relationships with people who held me back and drained my energy because they have always been there. I tolerated the doing of work that bored and frustrated me but which paid the bills. I tolerated mediocre coffee from my nearest cafe because the one I really liked was further away. I tolerated the situations I found myself in because I thought the stars have to be aligned and perfect conditions have to prevail  before I acted and made a change.  For many, tolerating is the easy way to get by, to stay out of trouble, to not stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t blame them for I was once like that.

As I got older and more aware, tolerating has become simply quite intolerable. I have little time and patience for the ‘second bests’, the ‘less than ideals’, the ‘barely good enoughs’, the ‘this is better than nothings’, the ‘this is simply not dones’, the ‘this is how it has always been dones’, the ‘sometime in the futures’. I simply had enough.

It takes awareness, clarity, courage and determination to reach out beyond tolerance and grab hold of what we are meant to be and to have. Tolerance is a weak virtue and might be a good starting point, but it’s certainly not a good enough way to live one’s life. Let’s not shortchange ourselves.


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