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Foment Forbearance

Forbearance has had a tough time since ‘social’ media gave us tools to strike back at whomever and whatever we choose in the blink of an eye.  Simply put, forbearance is self-control that emphasizes patience.  At a time when instant gratification is the norm and not returning a text within the next 5 seconds is considered rude by some, outright heresy by others, forbearance is the equivalent of hitting the pause button in our lives—and letting our cooler selves prevail.

Forbearance is more than counting to 10 before blowing up over something.  Forbearance is a conscious choice to extend grace.  Forbearance is a step above merely “tolerating” something or someone.  Used to its fullest extent, forbearance provides a sense of mildness, a restraint that rises to the level of endurance.  I like to think of forbearance as “patience with attitude.”  Try as hard as you might to punch my buttons, I am not going to give in to the temptation to fly off the handle.

How do we foment forbearance?  First, we must decide that we are going to practice moderation.  Next, we must commit to not doing or saying the first thing that comes to mind.  An example from my experience is declining to post something on Yelp after a bad experience.  That is my way of saying “Merry Christmas” to those who will never know I gave them the present of not venting my spleen online over something that I will be over in the next 24 hours (or more likely, the next 30 minutes).  Forbearance is the opposite of “living in the moment.”  It is a form of tolerance that is easy to understand, but sometimes maddeningly difficult to practice. 

What will fomenting forbearance give us?  Physically, forbearance will give us the opportunity to avoid serial blood pressure spikes when things are not going according to plan.  Mentally, forbearance will give us the opportunity to stop keeping score on things that really do not matter over the course of a lifetime.   Spiritually, forbearance will give us numerous daily opportunities to forgive and forget. 

Foment forbearance—the sooner, the better!

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