High tolerance

“You have high tolerance,” Therapist said.


“When something negative happens, when someone’s behavior hurts you, you analyze and look for the reasons inside yourself. Then you try to find the underlying causes for the behavior. You don’t just dismiss the person.”

Other people more often than not say, “what an asshole,” and are on their way. But I don’t do that. Take my last work experience: I left my job on really bad terms with my former boss. I don’t like her work mentality, and the strife caused me considerable distress and not a few tears. It cost me not only my job, but also my last chance for an academic career. Am I mad? Am I bitter? Am I resentful?

The answer is a resounding no. I understand why she is the way she is. I understand she must think I am a bad person, indeed. Her view is that I behaved horribly towards her. I get it. But I chose not to let it define my professional life. That’s just the way it is. She sees the world differently than I do. For all the stress and tears she caused me, I don’t blame her. It couldn’t have worked between us. In fact, the only reason it lasted as long as it did was my high tolerance, if I believe some of my former colleagues–but that’s their view, which might or might not be true, if such a thing as universal truth even exists.

It’s the same with personal relationships. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” people tell me sometimes, and I wonder at their hesitance, because I can’t imagine an occasion where I’d actually take things the wrong way. I might think I’m wrong, or I’m behaving suboptimally, or they just misunderstood, but I rarely ever think, “they’re being unfair to me,” or, “how dare they!” This kind of basic self-righteousness was stomped out of me pretty early on. Was it my family? Society? Misogynism? Who knows? As for the things people sometimes tell me, those I could “take the wrong way,” I never felt they were particularly hurtful or negative when they were finally uttered. “You appear arrogant at first” just gives me useful information: I appear a certain way when one first meets me. Why on Earth should I be mad at the person who shared their honest view with me?

So, high tolerance. Who knew! I should probably reduce the tolerance, though. No reason to remain in situations that cause pain and discomfort.

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