Photo Credit: Jaco Pretorius,

Part One of a Five-Part Series on Patience in Relationships

Endurance means both “bearing hardship,” which can be negative, and “staying power,” which can be positive.

Endurance is an aspect of patience and perseverance but it can mean both pluck as well as resignation.

Everyone who lives long enough and has relationships with anyone has the experience of enduring something.

Which Way Do You See Your Endurance?

First, what’s the outcome of the situation you feel you need to endure? Will your actions cause a positive result–greater good in yourself, your family, or the world? Do you think it’ll increase healing, opportunity, or a spiritual level of happiness? Will the situation result in negatives (such as pain or humiliation)?

Enduring something for a good cause is different from enduring poor treatment from either a person, organization, or system. Your judgment and self-image determine whether something should be endured, ended, or fought. What’s your situation? Who are you?

Which Way Do You See Yourself?

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it.”

― Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Any experience can be a grueling hardship or a demonstration of your staying power in your relationship with yourself.

How do you feel when part of your body does something you don’t want it to do? It could be a persistent pimple, loss of hearing, or eyes that no longer function the way they used to. How do people behave who have disabled children or spouses who need constant care? Are they models of inspiration or people to avoid because of their depressing attitude? Can you see yourself as one of them?

People train for marathons and endure pain, sometimes loss of companionship, and financial hardship to achieve a goal. They choose the goal and are willing to pay the price to achieve it.  Service members endure discomfort to train so they can protect others. Is that you?  Are you happy?

How Do You Decide What You Should Endure?

What do you think you deserve in your relationships with others? Are you sometimes in situations that are unpleasant but that you feel you must endure for a short or longer time? Are those situations the story of your life? Are they normal for you?  Do you talk about them constantly? Does that way of life make you happy? 

That might be level-one energy in Bruce D Schneider’s energetic self-perception system. People at that level don’t realize the power they actually have. At higher levels, you can experience that same set of circumstances as an opportunity to flex a spiritual muscle.

Enduring suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, fear, or continued discomfort from an individual because it gives that individual pleasure doesn’t make the world a better place. If you’re in a relationship and wondering if you should continue to endure hardship, you should probably get help to evaluate your situation and your options. Can someone in your family offer clarity? There are resources online, in social service agencies, schools, medical facilities, and other places. You can contact me or other coaches and counselors.

Do You Need to Show People They Can’t “Mess” With You?

Which situations that require patience and endurance make you angry? Is your first response finding someone to fight? Do you argue with doctors, store owners, or whoever you think caused the problem before seeing the issue from their point of view?

In situations where there’s an injustice, anger and confrontation can combine with level five reconciliation, level four service, and level six and seven altruism to create the kind of love-motivated change that revolutionizes the world.

By itself, though, that instant instinct toward conflict can do the opposite, and radiate negative, level-two energy only designed to make those around you fearful. If you’d like more information on these levels of self-perception, contact me. You can gain life-affirming insight into your behavior!

How Much Would You Endure to Promote the Greater Good?

Injustice and oppression from a society, system, or individual often continue until enough people decide not to endure it any longer. The most successful changes occur when the urge to fight is used as fuel for the need to find positive outcomes for all involved (level five) and the necessity for loving both the oppressed and the oppressor (level 6).

Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are good examples of a refusal to endure oppression while refusing to oppress. They changed perceptions, societies, and systems so that more people are recognized as equal to each other in terms of protection under law and access to opportunities. They endured personal suffering from those systems–being ridiculed, jailed, bombed, and worse–in the course of working to eliminate personal suffering for millions. Is that your situation?

You Decide

Your personal and intimate relationships often affect your life the most. In the same day, with the same people, there can be situations you feel should be endured and others where you say, “Enough!”

You’re the determining factor, not the other person, because only you can change your behavior. You can choose whether the situation should spark persistence with a calm faith in the outcome, resistance, refusal to participate, or realization of a great opportunity.

If you need help sorting out your response to life situations, contact me and we can work together to build clarity that creates possibilities.

Photo Credit: Jaco Pretorius,