What mood are you in right now? Bored? Happy? Sad? Do you feel like you ‘should’ be in another state of mind, or ‘should’ be doing something else?
Intolerance of ourselves is the first thing we need to become more conscious of, as we start to move into a new world of being more tolerable of others.
"Why tolerate others?" You may ask. "They are stupid", "they are cruel", "they don’t know what they are doing", "they think they are better than everyone". The list goes on. We could write pages and pages of reasons why we shouldn’t tolerate others. Can you think of one reason why we should?
Tolerating others does not mean tolerating their behavior or spoken word, if it is harmful to us in anyway. This is where effective boundary setting comes in, perhaps following a process such as Nonviolent Communication to outline the action that occurred, express our feelings, needs and ultimately a request that the person may be able to meet in order to fulfil our needs.
So what is the opposite of intolerance? Acceptance.
We have chosen this word as it conveys a better feeling as opposed to simply ‘tolerance’. Because acceptance is being OK with everything as it is, no matter what that looks like. That does not mean that you can not work to change something. For example, if you were in a job that you were deeply unhappy in, should you accept it and just put up with it? Or should you accept it and take steps to update your resume, perhaps seek further training and look to resign as soon as you can? Ideally it’s the latter option. Accept what is, “I accept that I’m in a job that I can’t stand, and I accept that I am taking steps to get out of it”.
It’s fairly easy to demonstrate acceptance of something external to yourself. How about accepting something internal, or something on your physical body that you may not be able to change immediately or at all?
I accept… my wrinkles
I accept… my love handles
I accept… I feel like a failure in relationships
I accept… I feel like a sh*tty mother / father
I accept… I don’t feel good enough
I accept… I don’t love myself
Try this for yourself and see what resistance comes up for you. It may look like an inner voice that says “why would I accept that! I hate that!”. Yes you might, but accept it anyway.
If you’re really not able to bring yourself to accept something, then say “I accept that I’m finding it difficult to accept this part of me right now”. And make a note of it to work on. Try again later.
We have spent our entire lives pushing and pushing against the tide, fighting against what is, in order to reach the sweet spot where we feel totally at ease with every single aspect of ourselves, inside, outside physically and in our environment, in our social status, education and career achievements, married or not married, kids or no kids, renting or owning a house.
Constantly comparing, constantly judging ourselves and others for that which they lack, or they have, or what we lack, or what we have.
Think about it. When is the last time you compared yourself to someone else? Most of the time it happens in the flash of a second, a thought in your mind “she shouldn’t be wearing those jeans” (inner judgement on what a ‘good body’ looks like and that we would never wear those jeans with that shaped body’, or “I’m more qualified than he is” (inner insecurities masked as judgements to try and make us feel better than the other person). Constant mind battles.
If you want to free yourself from these mind wars, then start today by accepting something about yourself that you don’t like. Then work on the next one. And the next one. Don’t even worry about your thoughts towards others at this stage. What you think are judgemental or intolerant thoughts of others, are merely a reflection of your own inner battles going on.
You don’t need to see a Healer or read lots of books to do this.
Just practice AWARENESS of every time you’re trying to change something about yourself or your external environment, by non-acceptance or intolerance. And replace that thought with:
“I accept that ….”
One final example which demonstrates this point well... I live near Lake Munga in Mount Hawthorn and I have to cross the busy freeway at the overpass in order to get to the lake. Every time I went there, I’d be consumed with this bad mood and thoughts of “argh!! The traffic! I hate the traffic! The noise is so loud!” It would really bother me that the freeway cut through so close to the lake, and I kept thinking that the freeway is ‘wrong’ and ‘shouldn’t be there’ and ‘wouldn’t it be better without the freeway’ etc.
A few weeks passed and I was getting deeper into reading The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, which has some great guidance on the art of acceptance. Soon after, something shifted and I started to accept the freeway and all it’s noisy glory. I said to myself “I accept that the freeway is located here. I accept that the noise can be loud”.
And I started to realize “who am I to judge that it is ‘wrong’ to have the freeway here? First we had a natural environment, then we had land clearing, housing establishments and roads, then we had a freeway. It is what it is. It’s part of living in suburbia. I can’t change it so I may as well accept it!"
Sure it’s not ideal, I’d still rather be walking in a quiet forest away from all the city noise, but whilst I am walking in this area, I accept everything about the environment, including the freeway. Now, the freeway noise doesn’t bother me and I can walk around the lake quite happily.
See how my inner peace was achieved by simply accepting what is? Accepting that which I could not change?
Try this for yourself with just one thing today, and experience a deeper sense of peace and contentment.
With love and hugs,
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Renee Cusworth is a Holistic Coach & Consultant specialising in helping single people attract (and keep!) a loving partner. Based in Perth, Western Australia, she offers In Person sessions at her Mount Hawthorn clinic aswell as Online to clients around the world.