I googled the word “tolerance”. According to Merriam Webster it means the “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own, the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant, and/or your body's ability to become adjusted to something (such as a drug) so that its effects are experienced less strongly.”
Tolerance is something everyone has to measure on their own whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually. Everyone is different. Some people have a strong tolerance to stress, while others may feel crushed by even a small amount of stress. Tolerance can be attributed to those that work out and learn about their body’s limits. We even have to learn to tolerate each other as people, like those that are introverted and those that are extroverted.
Tolerance is also something we have to learn to change and challenge in ourselves as human beings. Sometimes we must learn to tolerate negative things in our lives and know when it is time to speak up or change the things around us. An example-- How long can you tolerate someone yelling at you? How long can you tolerate others ridiculing you? How much can we tolerate before we speak up?
I am Native American with some French ancestry. I am Navajo, Sac & Fox, and Prairie Band Potawatomi. I have had to tolerate the ignorance of others about my Native culture and heritage. But because of my high tolerance to ignorance, I don’t get mad or upset, I use the moment as a time to educate others about my Native background. I am also an artist so I have learned to tolerate criticism. Not everyone is going to like my work, and that is ok. We have had to tolerate many things this year with sickness and other stresses. With tolerance, we learn how well we can handle various situations, but also how to grow to be better human beings. Tolerance can be a good and bad thing but it depends on how we perceive it. Because of tolerance I have been able to take a deep breath and learn to look at the situations around me.
Because of my tolerance, I know when I need to improve myself and when I need to speak up. Sometimes there are times to be silent and humble, and other times when words need to be spoken to stand up for something that is right. We all must learn to tolerate many things, but we can work together to learn what each other’s limits are and how we can help each other to grow. This is what tolerance means to me.
This week's blog writer, Amber DuBoise-Shepherd, is a Native American artist and has participated in various exhibitions and shows across Oklahoma. DuBoise-Shepherd is the Manager of Education and Outreach at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art since April 2019. She currently lives in Shawnee, OK with her husband Josh Shepherd.