Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tolerance and the Burden of Resentment

Juanita Chavez opened the door to Room 307 and made a quick visual scan. Nothing left behind, room in good order. This would be a quick one. When she checked the sink and bathtub, she felt the familiar feeling of disappointment. There were two used soaps on the bathtub.

With one barely used bar of soap right there, why would anyone open a second one? It's such a waste, so unnecessary! These people are thoughtless.

On the floor were two bath towels. Why two? Who would take two showers in one day? She stocked each room with three large bath towels, but isn't one towel enough for one person? It puzzled her and saddened her. It didn't make sense. No wonder these people have made a mess of their economy. No respect for precious resources. Just use things up. It made her angry. How could you respect people like that?

Later, as she pushed her cart down the hall, she smiled at a passing guest, and said, "Good morning, sir." But she felt resentment towards this stranger.

Downstairs, Jan Pennington read the paper while she sipped her coffee and took a bite of her English muffin. She loved staying at this hotel. It had an ample complimentary breakfast. Most of all, she appreciated the workout room and the lap pool. She had used these facilities that morning. The swim left her feeling refreshed and awake.

After the swim she had showered in her room. She opened a bar of soap, but after rinsing off, she noticed a second, used bar sitting on the bathtub. She was surprised that she hadn't seen it. But the soap and the tub were both white. And she hadn't had her coffee yet. No big thing.

The towel she had used after her swim was still damp, so she grabbed a dry one. She loved these big, thick towels. This is my kind of hotel, she thought.

Of course, Juanita had no way of appreciating Jan's perspective. She had drawn her conclusions based on the information she had.

But her judgments were erroneous. To be honest, her quickness to assume the worst is something we all do from time to time. Sometimes, instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, we let our frustrations push us to think poorly of people.

I consider tolerance a personal strength because many times it's hard thing to exercise it. It's easier to go with our initial emotions.

As she drove her rental car to the airport, Jan was unaware of and unaffected by Juanita's negative feelings. It was Juanita who would have the burden of carrying them in her heart.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use photo purchased from istockphoto.com)

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