The Shadow Side of Tolerance

Before we jump right in, let's get on the same page with the terms, shadow side and light side.  Each provides a view set by beliefs we hold when standing at a particular place at a particular moment and experience in time. When we are in the higher energy calibrations, happiness, peace, satisfaction, kindness, and our thoughts and actions come from those energies, we more easily experience our light side.  When we are in the lower calibrations, fear, doubt, shame, lack, and our thoughts and actions come from that space, we may experience our shadow side. The shadow side can also be associated with unprocessed negative emotions that are recent or longstanding.  The reasons we experience these different sides of ourselves is that at certain moments in time, we are also experiencing different situations that affect the calibration or quality, of our energy.  Those beliefs trigger a certain set of thoughts, emotions and actions, light or shadow.  Another way of expressing this is we see a certain view when we are standing at a particular place on a mountain.  The lower we are, the lower our view, the higher we are, the more expansive our view.

Let's look at the shadow side of tolerance in two ways.  One, as a state we put ourselves in when there are outside forces putting pressure on us in one way or another.  Certain people may do or say things to you in your life, and if these people are your family or co-workers, you may choose to tolerate some disrespectful behavior towards you to keep the peace.  You may not want to rock the boat for multiple reasons.  If you feel your relationship or job would be in danger of being lost, you may just play a game of tolerance with yourself to maintain whatever security you find from this status quo.  But it is a dangerous game that can quite literally dull your mind and your ability to make clear decisions. This can have drastic effects on anyone's life.  The second reason?  We also do this to ourselves by being tolerant of our own laziness, accepting less, and pretending it doesn't matter.  Worse yet, pretending that we don't matter.  It is a dark energy.

The shadow side of tolerance is destructive.  It's power is in its subtlety; hiding in the shadows of the familiar.  It is insidious as the hits we take from ourselves and/or others may eventually feel "per usual", so we may brush them aside rather than deal with them.  At some point down the road, if the shadow side of tolerance is running in you uninterrupted, you may end up in an unfortunate space you didn't "expect."  Like the moment you wake up and say, "How did I get here?"  Think of how many of us put up with certain behaviors from ourselves and others over and over again that affect us negatively.  The dangers of the shadow side of tolerance come alive when we are in a low calibrating energy, actually increasing the momentum of negative thoughts and energy.  It's a slippery slope.  The more we tolerate, the more we lose our positive thoughts, feeling sad or hopeless.  If that happens over and over, it actually weakens and numbs the vitality of the personality, breeding apathy and diluting our ability to make clear and healthy decisions for ourselves.  Once you lose the lifeskill to make such decisions, you begin to seriously chip away at the quality of your life.  

The lighter side of tolerance is expressed by using a positive energy we intentionally cultivate to: hold on, hold out or walk through a challenge towards a valued goal.  It is easily seen and positively experienced.  In its light version, we recognize tolerance as the strength to persevere or to be disciplined for the amount of time it takes us to overcome or reach a desired outcome.  The light side of tolerance is very helpful to us in our general personal evolution, or in progressing to the next level of an area in our lives. When we are working intentionally to improve our mental patterns, we purposefully generate more positive or motivating thoughts, therefore, more positive actions naturally follow. Tolerance in this regard can be incredibly helpful to us in our quest to achieve our goals and can be used as a touchstone to move to the next levels of our lives.

three people sitting in front of table laughing together

So, how do we manage the shadow side of tolerance?  I see it as a two-fold situation to solve.  One, you must deal with the side of you that the world sees.  Ask yourself a series of questions like these: "Is there a problem I have that I'm not addressing?" "Are my actions somehow communicating my permission to others (or myself) to behave disrespectfully towards me?" "Do I want better than this for myself?"  "How can I address this in a peaceful way and communicate my experience and indicate that I would appreciate better?"  "How can I create a healthier set of boundaries to protect and honor myself?"  Once you answer these questions, confidence and clarity will rule rather than doubt or confusion.  Then you can put the power back into your own hands by taking hold of the situation instead of it taking hold of you. The second tier to this solution is to go within.  As you meditate and connect with the unbrokenness that lives in you, you will start to feel a greater sense of inner peace, strength, self-love and clarity.  Once we understand this experientially, it is much easier to discriminate which side of tolerance we are experiencing, and know how and when to make a necessary switch.  In this regard, awareness is a powerful tool to help you to apply tolerance with wisdom, AKA the ways that truly serve your highest good.  

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