"Without tolerance for another, it's hard to
have empathy for myself"
Tolerant was one of the last words you would have used to describe me before I entered the program. Instead, I was quick to judge you and could always find fault with what you said, or how you're dressed, or what you did. My opinion of myself was so low that I constantly had to rip you down to build myself up. Living this way made me bitter, isolated and resentful.
As I listed my resentments in my fourth step, and more importantly my part, I began to see how much my fear and low self-esteem drove my decisions and actions, hurting both myself and others. But as I listened to others sharing honestly and openly about their struggles and fears, I began to feel a connection, and for the first time an empathy for others.
I once read a description of empathy as being an emotional echo that is sent out to the inner center of another person and that returns with pieces of yourself. And once I began finding pieces of myself in other people's stories, I began to look for the shared humanity in our experiences. And that's when I began to develop tolerance and compassion for others as well as for myself.
Today I understand that without tolerance for another, it's hard to have empathy for mysel