Talk About it, not tolerate.

Are you taught to tolerate if you want a great relationship? That’s what I was taught growing up. The problem is, tolerating is only a shortcut to temporary relief.

Tolerate your spouse to avoid arguments. Tolerate that neighbor whose habits annoys and inconvenient you. Tolerate your kids’ behavior, they are still young, at teenager stage or had it hard at work. Tolerate your mom or mother-in-law to avoid family wars. These are all good intentions. But intentions only leave things undone. Here’s why:

1) Tolerance leaves issues as is.
Nothing will change if you don’t address a problem right where the roots are. Why is he/she behaving like this in the first place? How often does this issue resurface? Who else will suffer because of this?

2) Tolerance will fail you someday.
Most of us can tolerate anything on our best days when everything in life is going well. But life goes up and down. What if you started to feel unsupported, tired and even depressed? Will you still be able to tolerate?

3) Tolerance will leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Do you know someone well, though that you’re great together, and the next thing you know, they suddenly changed or turned cold? Most people would think he/she is doing you a favor by tolerating. Instead, you’re slowly losing the relationship. You too will change one day if you choose to tolerate.

Before you raise an issue, ask yourself these questions and consider:

1) Is it for their best interest, or you just want to get it off your chest? 
If you have everything else but their best interests, then you’re not in the position to talk. Because without it, your personal interest and point-of-view will take over. When you speak, it’ll sound selfish, hurting the relationship further.

2) Do you know his/her character?
To understand where he/she is coming from, you have to see things through his/her eyes. People will only listen if they know you’ll understand.

Then how do you raise the issues without feeling awkward and hurt your relationships?

1) Find the right time and place.
It may seem obvious, but most arguments started on the spur of the moment. That’s why you see arguments break out in public. Leave it only to you and the person involved. Talk when you have most privacy. By doing this, you’re honoring your relationships.

2) Be kind.
The best way to know how to talk is to think how you would like others to talk to you in a confrontation. This mental exercise will help you to keep your tone right.

3) Keep issues in context.
Putting issues in context keep everyone in perspective and real. Who was affected? What is the cause? When did it start? Where does it occur most often? Why he/she choose to reacted that way? How did it become the problem that is hindering your current relationship? Keep in mind that an issue can be habits or responses formed many years ago or newly acquired. You may have answers to some of the questions above, but for those that you don’t know, talk about it.

4) Be fair.
Listen to what the other person have to say. Don’t assume. You need to make sure you understand. You can repeat the answer in your words to make sure you fully understand what he/she is saying, “is this what you mean?”. Speak only solutions that will benefit or work for both of you and everyone involved.

Talking about issues with others was never easy, but it’s necessary for any relationship to flourish. I can assure you, the more you tackle and talk about hard issues, the more natural it’ll become.

Like everything else in life, you’ll reap what you sow. If you decide to put time and effort into your relationships, you’ll get fulfilling life with those you choose, creating a meaningful, colorful, beautiful memories and life with those who matters.

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