Tolerate, Adjust & Compromise

I am writing this post especially in an Indian context, from the perspective of living life in an Indian society. But perhaps this might well apply to other societies too.

As a society, India is a rich culture and has a rich heritage that is built on some beautiful values. The ancient Indians led spiritual lives and held tremendous wisdom about the process of life. They led lives that were full of Peace,Balance and Stillness.

However, over the years, as tradition got passed down the generations, the wisdom was lost. What was prescribed earlier as an inner journey to achieve satisfaction, contentment and peace in life, was diluted to just behavioural ‘dictates’ and ‘rules’ of how one ought to live their life. Society only carried forward a carcass of the ancient way of life. People who could tolerate unpleasantness were lauded as peaceful ones. People who could adjust and make-do in most circumstances were celebrated as ones with Inner-Stillness. People who compromised and sacrificed their needs were looked at as people with Balance.

Today, when I listen to people talk about the values and principles that they uphold in life, I still see signs of these idealistic ways. And often there is an unconscious fear of being ridiculed or judged if one does not comply with these norms. Many women especially, are taught that their duty lay in adjusting to the needs of her partner, tolerating things that are not so okay and compromising on her own needs in order to look after the husband and the family. Unfortunately, the reason why tolerating, adjusting and compromising do not work in most cases is because many people experience a diminishing of the Self when they start following these principles blindly. Seldom do I find people with an innate tendency to tolerate, adjust and compromise, living truly happy and content lives.

When Jack tolerates unpleasantness at his workplace, he is taking in the unpleasantness and actively suppressing his displeasure. Well, that is technically the meaning of the word ‘tolerate’ isn’t it?
Similarly when Jane blindly compromises and adjusts with the needs of her newly-wed husband and his family, she is giving up a part of herself, in order to fit in to the new family, without realising that it would cost her something.
As a result, in the big picture, there is never a sense of peace or satisfaction in what Jack or Jane do. Interestingly, both Jack and Jane are likely to sense something nagging them deep inside – as if pushing them to find a more real identity.

[Read this very interesting study calledThe Boiling Frog Syndrometo see what happens when we spend a lot of time and energy in tolerating and adjusting]

When you give to others to the degree you sacrifice yourself, you make others a thief. They are stealing from you what you need, and they don’t even know it.”

~ Iyanla Vanzant

So is it absolutely unhealthy to Tolerate? Hasn’t Tolerance been taught as a virtue? Haven’t we heard innumerable stories of people who have selflessly made way for others? Isn’t that also a Compromise?

Tolerating, Compromising and Adjusting are essentially acts of ‘giving’. Think about it. You give away something each time you take in somebody’s (unhealthy) behaviour via tolerating/adjusting/compromising. And as human beings we cannot ‘give’ unless we have ‘received’ enough. Check within yourself, do you feel like you have received enough emotional care and nurturing in the relationship? It is a feeling. You probably couldn’t rationalise this question.

A person who has received enough emotional care and nurturing, will feel full in his/her heart. A full heart is a heart of compassion. And when one comes from a space of compassion, one can effortlessly look through the unhealthy behaviour of the other to see the wounds within. It wouldn’t even feel like one is tolerating anything or adjusting with something. To such people these words (tolerate/adjust/compromise) do not even apply. They just act in compassion.

But if you have not received enough emotional care and support in the relationship, acting in compassion (giving) is difficult. And if in such a space you decide to be tolerating, adjusting and live a life of compromise, it can be detrimental to both you and your relationship.

Set Yourself on fire

9 thoughts on “Tolerate, Adjust & Compromise

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  1. very nice quote Natesh”You Are Not Required To Set Yourself On Fire To Keep Other People Warm’
    But then unconsciously we are all getting caught and stuck with others.. But then should be very careful on deciding how much we should stand for others

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Natesh,

    Read many of your lovely articles written for the Violet tree.

    This one- ‘Tolerate, Adjust and Compromise’ made me pen down some of my thoughts as I found some time sitting in the office.

    Indeed, a wonderful write up, mostly connected to Socio-Cultural, Eco and Psychological aspects of life. Wisdom dawns when these elements exists and life is placed in a comfortable zone.

    As you said it rightly, Ancients could succeed in their inner journey, only in the light of values and peace or stillness within. Balance in life gets disturbed and values corrode and not to talk of behavioral aspects which keep changing tracks. Where there were guidance or proper teachings available, people balanced their lives even without the need for tolerance, adjustment or compromise as there were clarity to life and life’s journey.

    Materialistic need and greed or outlook, possibly marred the whole process in absence of spiritual touch. It is visibly clear in the society we live in, without some knowledge of that which is called as spirituality, and in absence of understanding among members of family or friends or colleagues in workplace, it is seen as difficult to balance and be content. Thus the need of tolerance or adjustment or compromise in prevalence.

    Suppressing may be one of the dictionary meaning of word-tolerate. Oneness in thought, word and deed in a family, new or where one is born and the value of understanding and respecting can forego all aspects known as compromising, tolerating or adjusting. It would become a natural act of living together.

    A mother’s role in a family can describe this well, where she will never say adjusting, tolerating or compromising. She does all of them with perfect Love for her family with a feeling of oneness, isn’t it..?

    It could be Mother or Father, it is just one facet in human role, who plays many roles as Mother, Sister, Daughter, Sister in law, Mother in law, Aunt and so on…Motherly love can exist in any and all of these roles only if…..what we said above prevails.

    When one lives with behavioral dictates and rules, it can be seen as lack of knowledge, or understanding of human values and virtues. Possibly absence of love, peace and compassion. One who has received them in plenty, would know them all and share them with plenty.

    Yes,Indeed, what you said is absolutely correct. It is the full heart, a heart of compassion which would not allow in making any sense to words like tolerating, adjusting or compromising.

    Iyanla Vanzant’s quotation – making the other a thief, where an act of giving and of willingness, a degree of sacrifice a bit or bit more may be true in situations where there is no true love or values in practice.

    The last quotation in the article too is a wonderful one – ‘You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep the other people warm’.

    As is said, warmth prevails where there is practice of Values. This made me recollect what has been said about the good works of the great Greek Philosopher – Socretes. And more important is the comment made by his wife, who said “ My husband has set fire to his house to show light to the world….”. Well, someone called her a greater philosopher.

    Truly, we are not talking about great and greater aspects of human life, it is enough if it leads us to the good aspects in life.

    Lots of Love.


    On Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 9:20 AM, The Violet Tree wrote:

    > Natesh Shetty posted: “I am writing this post especially in an Indian > context, from the perspective of living life in an Indian society. But > perhaps this might well apply to other societies too. As a society, India > is a rich culture and has a rich heritage that is built on some” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing all your thoughts Papa. I agree with everything that you have said.
      In a home or a family where there is Love and Compassion flowing freely among all the members, there is no scope for “tolerate, adjust, compromise”. It is all just a flow of love and compassion. Nothing else matters.
      I’m so happy to see your comment. Please keep sharing your thoughts and words of wisdom whenever you get a chance.


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