Being Tolerant vs. Becoming A Victim

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Over the past year or so I've learned to become tolerant of the world around me.  It was part of my journey into mindfulness and it was very challenging.  At the end of the day, I am happy to say that I now have the ability to not let other's actions affect my internal well-being.   One of the keys to doing that is to be more tolerant of people's behaviors and how they affect me.  

But what's the difference between being tolerant and becoming a victim? Let me explain...

Say that someone cuts you off in traffic... it makes you really mad doesn't it?  You have two choices... the first (and most common reaction) is to curse them and fume over how much of an arrogant pompous a$$hole they are.   As you continue driving to your destination you keep stewing over how many idiots there are on the roads today.  This is putting you in a bad state of mind and affecting you negatively. 

Your second choice is to acknowledge that what they did was rude, but to also acknowledge that you won't let it affect your current state of mind. 

When someone cuts me off in traffic now I just say to myself, "Wow, what a jerk, I'm so glad I'm not that irresponsible of a driver. Oh well, I'm not going to let their stupidity affect my great day. I had a smooth day at work and did great on my run, and that's what matters."

How do you become more tolerant?

1. Decide if you have any control over what happened.
Chances are you don't.   You can't help that someone is a crappy driver, and you also can't help that your coworker came to work while she was sick. 
2. Accept what's going on.
Just admit to yourself that it's rude of that driver to cut you off or selfish of your coworker to come to work while she is contagious, risking everyone's health.
3. Decide what you DO have control over.
You always have control over your reaction.  Your reaction can be to drive defensively so that you are always able to save yourself from a fender bender caused by another drive.  You can also wash your hands a lot and avoid your coworker for the rest of the day. 
4. Remind yourself that you are in a good state of mind and you aren't going to let someone else's actions affect that.  
Oh well, I'm having a great day and if I just stay away from Susan's cubicle, I won't need to worry about her sickness!

When does being tolerant turn into becoming a victim.

Let's say that you have a boyfriend that verbally abuses you.  He comes home from a bad day at work and he starts picking at your outfit telling you that you look stupid.   He also yells at the dogs because they barked when he walked in.  He puts you on edge and you find yourself avoiding him for the rest of the night when he's like this.  But it's not just one day, where you can acknowledge that he's being a jerk... this is something that he does everyday all the time.  

You feel small and afraid... but you keep putting up with it.  Some things that indicate you are starting to become a victim are:
1. You inconvenience yourself just to please someone else. 
You try to stay out of the house as much as possible, even though you'd love to be at home relaxing, you don't want to face your grumpy boyfriend.
2. You feel stressed and depressed inside. 
3. You are fearful. When you begin to fear someones overreactions and irrationality, you are becoming a victim.

None of those things are fair to you. 

When you have to go out of your way to cater to someone else and your gut tells you it's not right... it probably isn't. 

Do you see the differences?

How can you stop being a victim?
1. Remove yourself from the situation.
Get out of a bad relationship, cut ties with a toxic friend, and don't converse (personal chat) with certain people at work that upset you.
2. Stand your Ground.
You shouldn't have to sacrifice your mood to make someone else happy.
3. Remind yourself that you will not become a victim.
Take back your own life. Recognize when you are a victim and tell yourself that you will not allow it.

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  1. This is such a great informative and advice post! The steps you listed to become more tolerant is actually the same things a therapist I used to have said to me. My go-to word I always use when an irresponsible driver does something like cut me off is "dumb fuck." I say it and then let it go and leave it at that.


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