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Tolerations and Conflict

During my coach training many years ago, the instructor talked about a concept called ‘tolerations’ and how they affect our moods, energy, attitude and so on. Essentially, tolerations may be defined as things we put up with. Sometimes tolerations sound like ‘to do’ lists, such as unfinished chores. Other times it’s others’ behaviours and attitudes that we do not condone, much less address.

As a conflict specialist, I apply this idea to the sorts of dynamics that we are tolerating – that irritate us – and about which our patience and ability to manage them are diminishing. Conflict looms and fear or other reasons preclude us doing something to lessen our angst.

Think, for instance, of someone’s attitude that is always negative and it wears you down. You may have tried to talk to this person – or not – but the reality is you may feel yourself pulling away, increasingly developing a negative mindset around and about them and so on. Or, think about a friend who is always late and you are fed up – finding yourself getting crankier each time. You have the picture, right? I’m referring to the types of actions, words, attitudes, etc. that wear us down, zap our energy and that we put up with against our better judgment and sometimes, even our values.

In my work, it’s common for my clients to report that when they feel no longer able to tolerate someone’s behaviour, the more likely they are to react and say things they regret. It’s evident as they talk – and this is my experience too – that a build up of all sorts of other tolerations also contribute to the tipping point. At these times, attempts at conversations with the person provoking us are full of high tension and emotions, making it more difficult to express ourselves without creating unnecessary conflict.

Whether it’s avoidance, or thinking we can deal with the situation, or some other variables that keep us from ‘nipping the irritations in the bud’, the build up – also due sometimes to the impact of tolerating too much else in our lives – is often detrimental to the relationship.

This week’s blog invites you to consider your tolerations and one that resulted in a conflict.

  • To begin with, what sorts of attitudes, behaviours, actions and so on are you tolerating in others and don’t really want to?
  • Considering a specific interpersonal conflict, what do you think you are or were tolerating with that person that resulted in the dissension?
  • What, if anything, did you say during the conflict that resulted between you about this (these) toleration(s)?
  • What do you suppose took you a while to let the other person know how you felt?
  • If you had told the person about her or his behaviour before the conflict, how did she or he react?
  • What do you think motivated her or him to continue to do the things you had identified?
  • What, if anything, did the other person share that reflected one or more tolerations that she or he is putting up with about you?
  • Why do you suppose the other person didn’t tell you sooner?
  • If she or he had previously told you what irritated her or him about you, why did you persist?
  • What do you wish the other person said or did differently in the conflict, as to have had a better impact on you? What do you wish you had said, in your scenario, that may have had a more positive impact?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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One Response to Tolerations and Conflict

  1. Pingback: I've Had Enough! | CINERGY Coaching

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