Most people in life are looking for happiness. We want to wake up in the morning joyful and get the day started with a sincere smile on our faces.
The reality is often very different. We do struggle getting up in the morning when we don’t want to, to go to a job we don’t like and spend time with people we don’t want to spend time with. Now, you may be wondering, what’s that got to do with tolerance and acceptance? Everything!
You know that there’s a thing I love to talk about and that’s self-love. It plays a crucial role in everything written above because the way we see ourselves shapes every single decision we make.
If we tolerate ourselves, meaning that we know we should love ourselves and we roll our eyes when a speaker tells us we should, but we’re not quite there yet and we cope with that usually by saying that it’s silly or that people are overstressing it.
If we accept ourselves, there starts the very foundation of self-love. Accept that we have strong and weak points. We have faults and sunshines and that’s the absolutely best way it could be. The problem here is usually the fact that everyone around us is trying to look so perfect that we sometimes believe they might actually be perfect, leading us to pretend we are too, continuing this vicious cycle. The point is to start looking at our faults and thinking “oh, this is also me, I will work on that”.
Now here’s where it gets complicated. If we tolerate ourselves, we don’t really have a strong sense of self-worth and we make decisions that confirm that conviction. We choose workplaces where we are tolerated and we hang out with people that tolerate us instead of going for more ambitious decisions that fit our capabilities and push us higher. “No, why would something like that be for me? Who am I to stand out? I’m just an average Joe.” is what I used to say and I made choices that confirmed my averageness or often even below averageness. Then I read a quote by Henry Ford which goes “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right!” and it got me thinking. Why do some people ‘go for it’, and why do they achieve above average results? Because they choose to. They choose to set a higher standard for themselves.
One of the most vivid examples I witnessed first-hand was my parents’ relationship (This article will be published in English and Italian so neither will probably read it any time soon). They had a tolerance based relationship where they tolerated each other and that’s one of the most terrible types of relationships. I often talked to them about their it at an age where a child should not have been exposed to that and I got some insights into the human mind. A few theories formed and were observed at others’ and my own relationships in the years to come. The issue often arises when one person in a relationship can’t make the other one happy and then the unhappy one either blames him/her, or the other blames himself/herself or both. What I have come to understand and realise is the following, which I realise some people will disagree with but I stand by it to the full extent of my being.
Your partner in a relationship cannot make you happy. I repeat, your partner cannot make you happy and it is rightly so. Because that is not their job. That’s your job, honey. Your job is to make yourself happy. Period. When that happens, you can find a person that makes you even happier but the first part of the journey is always on you, on me, on the person himself/herself. Until that happens, there’s a whole mountain of compensating and compromises. A similar picture would be two drunk people, one leaning to the right and the other to the left. They lean on each other and declare their undisputed stability. Now that is silly.
One thing to pull from this mess of words I put together is not that people should just quit their relationships and give up. But that they should focus more on what they can give to themselves instead of what their partner can give to them or they give to their partner. Like the title of that book by Sarah Knight says “You Do YOU”.
Take that, and do you.