time bomb

TIME BOMB: ARE WE PATIENT OR JUST TOLERATING?

Short Overview

“It’s ok. He has already done a lot for us. I can’t burden him more with the children. But I, too, couldn’t stand it anymore. It’s so tiring, I can’t enjoy myself anymore….”

“All is ok. I’ve never had a fight with my husband. He is kind. He’s just less expressive. Sometimes when I want something, he doesn’t understand my hint even after I obviously stated what I want, he ignores it….”

“I love my job, the pay is good, and my colleagues are positive. It’s just the boss. A few times, I realised he was comparing me with other staff and kept downgrading me. The workload is unbalanced, and I feel unfair to be treated that way. Even though it’s not frequent, it still hurts….”

So many of us must have the same experience as the above at least once. Yet, we thought we were patient enough to handle uncomfortably things we did not like, something we knew would not work. Be it related to work, with your partners, or any daily event.

How many of us understand tolerance and patience have different meanings? Yet we always confuse, use it interchangeably with the hope we could fix the things that are happening. Based on the Cambridge dictionary, patience is the ability to wait or to continue doing something despite difficulties or suffering without complaining or becoming annoyed. While tolerance is the willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them.

In other words, being patient does not mean you’re just bearing with the unbearable, but you will keep changing and looking for alternatives in doing something until it works and gives you the result you expect.

Yet, tolerating means you are repeating the same thing despite knowing it doesn’t work anymore, a sign you have to make a change.

Tolerance vs Patience: In Life

At Work
Some of us put up with an environment we don’t like every day or maybe for the rest of our life. It can be the annoying colleagues, the demanding customers and/or micromanaging bosses. There are things we can tolerate from customers, which come and go. We will definitely see new customers from time to time. However, we can always use our past experience (with demanding customers) to deal with new and provide better service. However, it will be another issue if you have to tolerate a repeated toxic environment. It can happen in various forms as below:

  • Bullying repeatedly happening, yet no action is taken
  • Harassment (verbal or emotional) is accepted as a regular thing
  • Conflict among staff that is not acknowledged or dealt with constructively
  • Staff constantly feel they have to ‘walk on eggshells in case they upset someone
  • Expectation that work takes priority and customer is always right
  • Staff are bickering against each other, showing bad behaviour including (abuse of power,
    taking credit for others’ work, shifting blame and discrediting colleagues).

Imagine yourself going to work every day for 3 years after dealing with all those unhealthy situations. So tolerating, while your pride and hard work are not acknowledged somewhat. At some point, you will experience burnout and feel demotivated or, even worse, mental health. While patience is in action when facing difficulties, you’re actively looking for a way to make your workplace a better space, upgrade your skills, fight for your rights and plan for your career advancement. Fight or flight, you choose!

At Home
A home is where we feel safe, content and calm whenever it comes to mind. It can include parents, spouses, extended family (relatives), neighbours, pets, etc. The expectation that parents, siblings, etc. Always loving and protecting their children is universally typical yet inaccurate. Not all are blessed with happy and loving family members. Some even experience unpleasantness since they can remember. Some are blessed with patience, and some survive and tolerate the limit.You might experience it yourself. It can be in the form of as follows:

  • They put their happiness as your responsibility
  • You must make the family proud (good grades, position, money, appearance, etc.)
  • Can’t accept advice or opinion (they are always right)
  • Manipulative to get what they want, gain benefit
  • Abusive (physical, emotional and mental)
  • Disregard your needs and feelings
  • Looking for you when they are facing troubles, ghosting you when things are good

If you’re practising tolerance, usually, it’s hard for you to say no. You always avoid conflict, try to please them endlessly, relationship issues(trust issues, doubting yourself, etc.) and poor mental health and the list goes on. In the form of perseverance, you’ll find a way to care for yourself by:

  • Create or join support networking
  • Learn to set boundaries
  • Practise and prepare for emotional cut-off if needed
  • Seek legal and professional help (before things get out of hand)

Last yet not least

Regardless of the discomfort, we can’t deny that those negative experiences teach us much about people. And it is not wrong to tolerate and be patient. It will serve you good in the long run. Yet, always be aware of your mental health condition and not to be taken yourself for granted for your kindness.

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