That’s Just How S(he) Is

“Acceptance” and “tolerance” are two buzzwords getting thrown around often these days. As with almost everything else, there is a time and a place to be accepting and tolerant and a time and a place when acceptance and tolerance don’t quite cut it and something needs to be said.

Humans are flawed creatures. Even the person whose life seems perfect on the outside is a wreck inside, tainted by sin and all manner of “dirt.” We can’t expect perfection out of others, and we can’t expect it from ourselves. We are often our own toughest critics, which is why it can seem astounding when someone approaches us and says something along the lines of “You’re such a patient person” or “You’re really good at such-and-such.” We may not have seen ourselves in that light at all.

We tend to be a lot more sympathetic to and understanding of others’ faults and idiosyncrasies than we are of our own. We may be quick to forgive others, but we remain angry at ourselves for a long time, which often leads to lashing out at others.

Even so, as Jean Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people,” so even though we may be more patient with others than we are with ourselves, other human beings are still annoying. When people act as their annoying selves, it’s important not to take things personally and remember that it may just be how that person is or a reflection of his or her personality. I’ve been told that I often come across as “cold” or “unfriendly,” but it’s really just my own shyness/introversion. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you personally.

One of my coworkers always acts as if he is in an enormous rush, and I used to think that it was because he didn’t want to talk to me specifically or have any time for my newbie questions. Then I realized that he acts that way all the time around everyone. It’s just how he is.

Yes, these behaviors are annoying. Some of them are even worth mentioning to the person if they really end up hurting feelings. But most of the time, it’s not worth it to worry about or harp on something that’s just a mannerism that the other person can’t control (or for all you know is working on trying to control). In those moments, it’s good to remember to be “accepting” and “tolerant” and not take things personally. Chill.

2 thoughts on “That’s Just How S(he) Is

  1. I agree, Maggie. We too often internalize or “take personally” perceived actions or comments from others. But I’ve found that letting these things go and treating all as I would (or would have liked) them to treat me usually smooths things over and makes friends, even from people who might otherwise not have started out this way.

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