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Recently, I was informed that I lack patience.  My first thought was, “Me?? Really??”  However, this was not the end of the revelations.  No.  It was further stated that what I have always felt is patience is, in fact, merely tolerance and not patience at all.  I was genuinely surprised by this revelation as I was convinced that I was the epitome of patience.  Nevertheless, in the spirit of helpfulness, this individual, who has sinned against me time and time again and who has been shown the utmost mercy (i.e. I have not cut them off completely), said that I had merely tolerated him as opposed to having had patience with him.

Well, ain’t that something?

Curious, I sought to find the difference between the two since, in my mind as well as the mind of Webster’s Dictionary, there didn’t seem to be any difference between the two.  In fact, even in the Thesaurus, the terms are used interchangeably.

After some time and a lot of contemplation, I discovered what I believe may be the difference.  When you are patient with someone, you are tasked to put up with or to endure them no matter how obnoxious they are.  Additionally, you must endure them without complaint or disdain.   That’s because, patience has no provision for disdain.  It is a matter of love to be patient with someone.  Thus, the word patience is associated with such terms as serenity, persistence, fortitude.

With tolerance, as with patience, you put up with whatever is said or done, even if the person is offensive.  However, there is a caveat.  With tolerance, you can let them know of their offense.  Tolerance is an issue of responsibility or, in the worst cases, obligation.  So, the word tolerance is associated with such synonyms as to stomach, to bear, to stand.

Ultimately, though the two can overlap, the real difference will fall to how you feel about the person and, on some level, to how they feel about you.  When love is given, it is easy to return.  But, when disdain is given, love becomes duty…and duty is not emotional.  Duty does what it does because it is supposed to, but it isn’t happy.  I have decided that, for optimal results, both are necessary at once.  Patience both grants and receives the love, and tolerance allows for the correction of highlighting of faults.  Love tinged with constructive criticism.  Seems like something positive there.  Can anybody hear me?

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