Losing Tolerance, Gaining Patience

Throughout my life, I’ve gained quite some tolerance. I gained a tolerance for poor outcomes. I gained a tolerance for poor behaviour. I opted out of self-respect to keep this tolerance steady. It was always a strength in my eyes. I was capable of dealing with a lot more than other people could.

I had this superpower that was conveniently activated at all times, ready to take on the next bad thing. I think part of this came from the universal female desire and need to help people. So not only was I able to tolerate these circumstances, I was going to change them. Not only would I deal with poor behaviour, I was going to fix it.

I believe that everyone is inherently good, but some just allow their egos to take over their souls more-so than others. But they shouldn’t worry at all because I will help them change. Or perhaps it would be easier if I just changed them myself. People don’t exactly like putting in the work so I can do it for them. It’s fine. I’m fine. They’re fine. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

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As we all probably know, we can’t change people and we don’t have the authority to dictate what anyone’s journey looks like, including our own. And after every conspicuous failed attempt, I started to become the problem.

When you only look at things for what they can be, rather than what they are right now, they begin to lose their value and you begin to lose your trust.

I dated men who had the potential of being better and kinder. They had the potential of loving me. I say ‘dated’ loosely because often times, we were never “officially” dating (whatever that means), but we totally had the potential to. I made friends with people who had the potential of accepting me into their lives. I obsessed over what could come from these people and these circumstances instead of first accepting who and what they were already.

I fell in love with the idea of life rather than the reality of it.

What happened when I kept failing at changing things and people is I began to change myself. I adjusted myself to fit what they needed because that was something I actually had control over. And so when those people left my life and circumstances changed into something I could have never seen coming, I began to lose myself. With the adjustments I had made, I came out of these relationships and life events without any clarity of who I actually was.

I learned that my tolerance was not a virtue, rather it was a waiting game. As I continued to hope for people to change, I kept changing myself until I completely lost my own authenticity.

What I’m trying to learn now is how to be patient. How to have patience with people, patience within myself, and patience towards life’s unfolding. Along with patience comes trust. Trust for what already is and what is to come. Rather than trying to shift and change and gain some sense of control over my own life, what if I were to just be? What if I were to just allow things and people to be? What if that’s how patience is accrued and what if that’s exactly how life wants to unravel?

I don’t mean patience with people who are treating you poorly or allowing circumstances that you can get out of to continue hurting you. I mean patience in the timing of things. Patience in accepting who people are now at this very moment is exactly who they need to be. This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be in your life, but they need to be that person for their own journey.

Instead of surrounding myself with the potential of goodness, I try to look at who and what things are in the present and how well they compliment my intentions, my happiness, and well-being. This often doesn’t leave you with very much, but what it does leave you with is the truth. And an honest life is far better than one that is pretending to be.

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The Kindness Dilemma

When you’re a child, you’re often taught to be kind to people and there is a very black and white idea painted for what is means to be nice and what it means to be mean. Let me exemplify it for you:

“Chad pushed me in the playground, Mom”

  • Conclusion: Well, looks like Chad has got some anger management issues to deal with. NEVER trust a boy named Chad, Layla. Fuck Chad.

Then there’s Layla, the sweet girl who personalized Valentine’s Day cards for everyone in the class, INCLUDING Chad, even though he pushed her in the playground. (PS: Remember when everyone got Valentine’s Day cards from the entire class? Why is that not a thing anymore?)

  • Conclusion: Layla is a nice girl. You should be friends with Layla. Everyone should be like Layla! YAY LAYLA!

There, the distinct behaviors of mean and kind. The good and bad.

What happens when you grow up? Why does the distinction become so blurry? I guess we come to understand the difference between actions and intentions. We understand mistakes and we understand that doing something wrong doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you human.

But when did the goodness that comes from a kind heart become a weakness? Why has being mean and selfish become the trait that only the strongest people possess? When did the definition of strength evolve into something so individualistic? And when did the calculated result of this strength begin resting on monetization?

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Formula for an Unsuccessful Life

If you are nice, you get walked on. People who get walked on can never earn good money because they are sensitive and care too much. You have to be stronger than that to survive in this world.

Weakness: Kind, Caring, Sensitive   →   Outcome: Not earning enough money, allowing others to take advantage of you. 

Formula for a Successful Life

However, the idea of “only looking out for yourself”, having to step on some people to get where you want to be; That is the one and only way to reach success.

Strength: Not trusting people, using others in order to get what you want, being mean →  Outcome: Money Money Money! Success! WOO!

Note: These are very broad formulas. The ways in which people may use them are different and situational. This also doesn’t define people in a black and white fashion of good or bad. But those are the formulas, the standards, the mindsets and the unwritten terms we have all come to agree upon for how to succeed in this world. It’s a very simplistic model for us to understand what aspects of ourselves we might have to change in order to potentially receive better outcomes.

If we were to dig a little deeper into how success has gained this universal definition, we have to start talking about capitalism and social moments and the history of how the world slowly became what it is. If you want the detailed description and outline of all of that, I suggest you read a sociology textbook. Even then, there are blurry lines because not everything can be explained with reason. Everything is somehow a result of environments/events interacting with humanity. We can always try and predict or reason the reactions that people have or will have, but some things are what they are and we may never know why. Some things can never be FULLY explained, especially when it boils down to people.

However, somewhere along the way, the word ‘success’ started being defined in a materialistic way. It’s about how much money you earn, how many clothes you can afford, the brands you are able to purchase from, the house you are able to live in and the car you can afford to drive in. To be successful is to have people envy all of the luxuries we can afford. To be successful is to appear to have it all. What really is ‘having it all’? What is all this success even for?

It’s supposed to be for happiness. That’s what it always boils down to, isn’t it? The desire to be content. The desire to be free. The desire to not feel empty or lonely. It’s the destination we all long for. But when we are advised to not be so trusting of people, to not be so kind, to not be so generous, and not be so helpful, and we listen to it, we are opting into this belief of a life where happiness is a commodity. We are opting out of the idea that love is a factor in all of this.

When we advise others to be untrusting, less kind, and less forgiving, we are teaching them to unlearn how to love.

When I get thanked for being kind at my work by customers, they are quick to ask me whether or not I make commission from this job. Because obviously if I am kind, there MUST be something I get out of it, and it MUST be monetary. Why else would I do it? What good reason does a human have to be kind to other humans?

My question is, why must there be a reason? When I answer ‘no’ to the question of gaining commission, they’re often shocked and then confused. And if you’re wondering whether this reaction brings me joy, it doesn’t. It actually fuels me with anger because this is an insult to the world. It is an insult to the way we are living and it is an insult to the way we are raised to survive in this society, but it is also the truth.

No, you don’t get money from being kind to others, but you know what you do get? You get that kindness back. You get respect. You get truth. You get honesty. You get forgiveness. You get help.

You get love

From this one act – the most simple and complex thing to do – you get this magnificent experience of what it really means to be human. And that, my friends, is fucking success.

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An Unsolicited Confessional: My Inner Truths

Lately, I’ve been feeling very disconnected from both the world and myself. After making all of these changes in my life, I realized that I don’t really know who I am exactly. I don’t really know what remains true about myself and what no longer does. So I decided to make a list and share it in this space. These are the things that have always been true. These are the things that I’m working on changing. These are all parts of who I am. These are my inner truths:

  1. Sitting by the water has always brought this flow of energy and inspiration to me that I can’t seem to find anywhere else.
  2. My interests change so often that it’s difficult for me to keep up with them. I was not made to do one thing and only one thing and stick with that. I have so much respect for people who were wired that way, because I wasn’t.
  3. Stationary aisles and stores light me up.
  4. I can be quick to judge people and leave them. I can be quick to forgive people and allow their torment to continue. I am a living contradiction.
  5. I’ve always been one to bottle my emotions and alcohol has been my release. I still crave it sometimes when I actually just need to cry or talk to someone.
  6. I hate it when people comment on my body. I hate that that is the first thing they feel the need to comment on before my mind.
  7. When I am reading more and more, it’s often during times when I need to live in other people’s stories to get away from my own.
  8. I have a habit of running away when things get bad and then I get frustrated when my problems catch up to me. This always happens and yet, I continue to do it anyway thinking that maybe it’ll work the next time. It never does.
  9. I get EXTREMELY exhausted from having to justify myself to other people. I shouldn’t have to explain my actions, my desires, my interests, or my decisions to them. I typically do it anyway. Still learning.
  10. Learning how to say “no” has been the most liberating experience.
  11. Since I was a child, I would only be fascinated by toys that had a musical element to them. Music has always given something to me without asking for anything in return. I never felt I owed anything to music other than my time. I guess we’ve both just always enjoyed each other’s company.
  12. I don’t know how to do anything in moderation. I am obsessive and extreme.
  13. I’ve always been a people-pleaser. I’d rather have people not know me than have people not like me. That’s been changing.
  14. I don’t think I could ever get tired of walking. My best friend is the same way and we always used to pick endpoints and walk around for hours, often in the worst weather conditions. We’ve walked 50km in a day before and that time, we were actually exhausted by the end of it and needed food + sleep IMMEDIATELY (so that we could do it all over again the next day).
  15. I don’t handle any sort of criticism well.
  16. I treat my cat like a mother treats her child. He’s a bit of a jerk to other people and sometimes I blame myself when he acts out. It makes me wonder whether I’m cut out to take care of anything.
  17. I am 60% introvert, 40% extrovert. I can be the most social person and I can also be the quietest. This greatly depends on the people I’m around and whether I’ve had enough time for myself.
  18. It’s very difficult for me to tolerate ignorance. People who don’t keep an open mind, or have perspective are people I can never sustain long relationships with.
  19. I would like to learn how to be patient, but learning how to be patient requires patience and I am not patient! Oh, the irony of life.
  20. Kindness has always been my mantra and the legacy I’d like to leave behind. If that is all I’ll be remembered for, that will be more than enough.

 

What are some of your inner truths? If you decide to write your own post on it, be sure to share it with me! I’d love to read it. 

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