Acceptance is not Tolerance

I see a lot of people pleasers struggling with disrespect; putting up with bad behavior from other people simply because they understand why the bad behavior is happening.

They have an tolerance for being treated poorly when they understand that the person is acting out of trauma or mental illness, or they believe the other person thinks they have a good reason.

People pleasers feel that because they understand why someone behaves poorly that they are somehow obliged to tolerate that poor treatment.

You let your wife yell at you for leaving the dishes unwashed because you understand that her childhood trauma is triggered by your messiness.

You let your boss unfairly blame you for the failed project because you understand that he’s under a lot of pressure right now.

You let your child scream their way out of brushing their teeth because you understand that they’re overstimulated and tired.

This is a little mental trick we play on ourselves to avoid confrontation.

It’s really important to understand the difference between Acceptance and Tolerance.

Acceptance is understanding why something happens, and that life is the way it is and people are the way they are.

Tolerance is allowing bad behaviour to hurt you without any boundary enforcement on your part.

Just because you accept something doesn’t mean you must tolerate it. If something is intolerable then confront it, even if you feel the person has a good reason for doing it.

“I understand that you get upset when things are messy, but yelling at me is never OK. Your issue with untidiness is not a problem I can solve for you.”

For more on this topic, check out my video “How to confront your wife about small issues if you’re a Nice Guy”

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