Ksantih: the value of tolerance
Ksantih is a Sanskrit word translated as tolerance or the ability to support. Many times these values are misunderstood either from the negative side or from a frivolous point of view. But they are not to take lightly, they need in the first place to be studied and understood, and then to be experienced.
Let’s start with the first step, learn more about Ksantih, and hopefully starting to understand this value.
Ksantih, experiencing tolerance on another level
Ksantih is an attitude towards life, people and events. A Ksantih attitude means that, happily and calmly, the person accepts the behaviors and situations that cannot be changed.
There are two important parts of this definition we need to focus on. The first one is “happily and calmly”, which means that accepting, tolerate, adapt, Ksantih, can’t be about faking acceptance. Pretend that we tolerate something, but have a bad feeling towards it, proceeding to complain, can’t be considered a full attitude of Ksantih.
The second part we need to pay attention to is in the last words: “behaviors and situations that cannot be changed”. Some people tend to absorb this value in a way that takes away their responsibility to work towards changing things, but this value is especially about the things we can do nothing about.
Bringing Ksantih deeper into our life experience
This value can be understood from the perspective of our relationship with other people. We will never find someone who is entitled of all the qualities we like, or all the ones we dislike. Any person is a mix of things we like and dislike, and each of us is also a mix of things that are pleasant and unpleasant to others.
What does this mean? That all relationships require some accommodation. It’s ok to keep some distance from the people with whom we have strong negative experiences, but that’s not always possible, so we must cultivate the attitude of accepting the others as they are.
Ksantih and the expectations
Expectations are strongly related to anxiety, sadness, stress, and our incapacity of acceptance and tolerance. We accept more easily silly behaviors from a stranger than from our best friend. Why is that? Because we cultivate expectations towards the people we love!
We should accept people like we accept that the sun is rising every day, or that the sky is blue and a leaf is green, give space for surprises, but never for disillusion. Of course, this is not an easy task, mostly because it’s pretty much the opposite of the way we were raised to believe is the right one.
Being so hard to put it into practice, what can we do? There is a way to start promoting Ksantih attitude towards the others: react to the person and not to the action. When we try to understand the reason behind the action, we put ourselves in a position of responding to the person and not to the action. We try to see what is behind a reaction we are receiving.
By stating that, it doesn’t mean we accept harm from other people without doing anything about it. That’s something to keep in mind.
Ksantih expands the heart! Those who practice Ksantih learn how to love the diversity of the world.
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