Act of Tolerance what it Means how Tolerance can be Practiced

According to Free Dictionary.com tolerance means it is the capacity to endure hardship and pain. My take in this is: Tolerance is accepting what is. But is it synonymous to not understanding what is right or wrong in what is tolerated? Does acceptance mean throwing away the consciousness of what is and what is not or what should and should be not?

I think tolerance especially in human behavior does not connote that I forego what I think is right and wrong. It is simply accepting the fact that for now, change towards what I think should be or should not be cannot happen, for now. The operating word is NOW. There are processes in everything and everyone. These processes can be only hastened and changed toward what outcome we want if we create the necessary elements to create and hasten that change. It is for this reason that hardship and pain occur and strongly felt by the one who tries so hard to change things or someone. If we see through the actual behavior of someone or put into context current circumstances and have the frame of mind that everything else needs to go through the process, I suppose hardship and pain diminish.

Let me put children as a case in point. When they were kids their process of development is strongly knitted and anchored to parents, especially their mothers. It was easier to convince the kids to act or make choices according to the values, traits and direction we want to train, nurture and develop them. Emotions running through between mother and child would be more on impatience, anger, and a bit of confusion (on how to apply discipline) when spats occur between them. 

Once the children start growing up, enter adolescence, that sense of obedience and control between parents and children run high and debates, contradictions on acts of what used to be the norm starts to dissipate and emotional conflicts heighten. Lack of control, on the part of the parents, becomes visibly felt. Parents start to feel disconnected and the adult-kid starts to withdraw because he or she has his or her own world he or she wraps himself in. This disconnection manifests in different ways and actions. There is the burst of anger, the feeling of disrespect when a child reasons out in a manner entirely opposite to what was taught and practiced while growing up and when parents and children were closely involved in their linked or defined relationship, the sense of hurt when parents sense they are no longer in the loop and the felt frustration when things go wrong, know about it only after the fact and the only recourse is to help solve or resolve the situation kids may have gotten themselves into. This further can bring out on the surface a sense of betrayal – for both parties – because of non-disclosure, lack of openness and beginnings of secrecy. 

When parents and their children are in such a process, emotions are strongly felt for both parties are vulnerable and susceptible to mistakes on how to act and react to their particular situations and incidents triggering such situations. In some cases emotions running high do not last long because established bonds that were nurtured on the onset of parent-child relationship, may have ran deep and instilled as part of building of character and developing the nature of the children.

The process becomes a mere inevitable phase of the relationship that is adjusting to the changes influenced by outside circumstances. Inevitably everything reverts to the core values. But in other cases this does not happen and longer adjustments are needed to come to realizations of what should and could be. It is a process that is there and cannot be avoided or ignored. It is a process that has to be processed. 

This is where the learning comes in and part of the act of learning is gathering enough strength of will and character to tolerate the process, to accept the process. It is acknowledging that the relationship between child and parent had developed into something both were unprepared for but as a general rule is bound to happen. It is a question of it happening whether sooner or later. It is recognizing it is happening because it is part of maturing – as individuals in the relationship and the relationship itself. The natural tendency of the process is to trigger the characteristics and nature of the parents and the children to discover their own strengths, weaknesses, limitations in the most vulnerable manner they are in. This is how the process of change is hastened and it is hastened more if one or both parties begin to realize that the process is there and that they are going through it, still together, involved with each other’s development.

In this sense, I think acceptance is a choice to make and tolerance is the act of choosing to accept what is. It is building the capacity to endure what is going on without losing one’s grip on what is right and what is wrong. Tolerance is patiently working to make things better and righting the wrong, so to speak. It is the choice of acceptance that helps create the apt manner of facing what is and the actions to take to work on what is right without adding on to more wrongdoings of how things can be resolved and changed toward what inevitably should be in the long run.

Once the process is acknowledged, accepted and the processing of everything is tolerated, the hardships and pain that go with processing are diminished. All these work faster on relationships between parents and children.

The process and processing that happen between husband and wife are magnified – emotionally, mentally and physically. Finding the right means to process what is happening can be longer and harder compared to how parent-child relationship is processed. I think the reason for this is the fact that the expectations are different as both husband and wife are supposedly adults who expect from one another they know what is right from wrong and what should be to what should not be. Emotions are more intense because trust and respect are given elements from the start of the relationship. Sense of betrayal is magnified due to verbal and non-verbal commitments and expectations of adults.

One does not only get to realize the strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities of each one but both have to process the degree and level of acceptance of what surfaced. Especially for men processing is prolonged, consciously and unconsciously, because pride and ego (being part of society’s preconditioned gender-stereotyping culture) are important to their image of manhood. Their maturity is slower in terms of projected reactions and their tendency to react in anger manifests strongly to cope with their guilt of knowing that they know what is right from wrong yet cannot correct themselves at the moment. Their reasons may vary from not knowing how or because they do not want to let go of temporal pleasures and misguided satisfaction. 

Compared to children, men grow up or mature emotionally much slower. They tend to hold on to making themselves believe nothing is wrong, escape and ignore the issues with different ways instead of confronting their committed state. I think their fears in life are greater and run deeper than children and women because they deny with and in their ego the need to be anchored, like children, to family (despite remaining individualistic with the illusion of being truly independent or what may be the acceptable image of being macho) and put premium on materialistic or worldly pleasures compared to women. Spiritual pleasures are in the bottom list of men’s development until such time they realize differently. It is common for women to be the anchors in relationships. They are less prone to give in to pride and ego for the sake of children and family. Men tend to hold on to denials and cling on to avoidance of confrontations. They are childish in maturity and whenever they can they will want their cake and eat it too and only will share when they are done and satisfied by it. 

This kind of relationship and the processes these relationships go through are harder, more painful, slower, more intense and complex. Acceptance takes deeper meaning in context and tolerance needs patience that is strengthened with understanding that the man will mature and grow up responsibly and revert to their inner cores. Women are more vulnerable in this process and the hurt and pain they go through are magnified because commitment for them is something sacred and binding. They will work on holding on to this commitment and choosing to tolerate the hurt and pain because women tend to be the givers in their relationships and their sense of nurturing is strong.

In the end, I think the process and processing between parents and children do find the way of resolution as the bonds between both cannot truly disappear or be broken. Maturity of the bond that ties them is embedded in their spirits. This does not necessarily hold true between husband and wife because their bond can or cannot mature and this lies on the willingness of the individual to mature and accept or ignore and escape. More often the option taken is the easier and more convenient one – break the bonds with remaining hurt and anger with each other. But in other cases they opt to take the option that may be hard but essentially meaningful and lasting – to deal with the hurt and pain, realize these can be negated by working on the relationship together. It takes a lot of courage and a whole lot of strength of character to nurture the bond, in whatever form, and continue to work on developing the acceptance of each other and expanding tolerance with more understanding.

It is in this sense tolerance is also the act of constant forgiveness because one can only truly accept the situation and behaviors of others if one has the heart and kindness to forgive the circumstances, the situations and the person’s actions and behaviors. Forgiveness is anchored on knowing what truly lies within and sees through the peripherals and surfaces. Forgiveness is anchored on understanding the spirit of the human being. 

Tolerance is an act of the spirit. It is the spirit that guides and gives strength to those who choose to act with tolerance. It is the spirit that provides the wisdom and courage to accept the important things in life and relationships no matter the hardship and pain and the ups and downs that are part and parcel of what are important. Doing the right thing is hard but the effects are more promising in the long term. Doing the wrong thing is a temporal element of who and what we are and the only good thing that can come out of this is the learning process and the ability to learn entirely lies on the individual, and hopefully all learn fast enough from it.