Tolerating the idiotsyncracies of others

Tolerating the idiotsyncracies of others

I was consulting with a patient when she mentioned she is working on herself to be more patient with others.  That she often finds it difficult to work with people who she feels are wrong or who insist on completing tasks in a way she views as incorrect.  That she has trouble tolerating the idiotsyncracies of others.


It was an accidental word, a slip of the tongue and the mind, but I loved it.  She had meant to simply say ‘idiosyncracies’, but I think she actually wanted to say ‘idiots’.  The result was a beautiful word that describes exactly what she feels she needs to tolerate in her life:  the idiosyncrasies of idiots.

At this time of year especially, everyone can become a little unreasonable, irrational and downright ridiculous.  The end of the year often spells increased pressure for people to finish things off, plan for the coming year, spend a lot of time and money doing things they may not really want to, all whilst dealing with temperature extremes (it’s been incredibly hot and stormy here, which I’m sure doesn’t help with rational thought!) and diets that have probably been filled with Christmas party staples and champagne.

Perhaps if we stopped and took a moment to consider the idiotsyncracies of others, we would be better able to handle some of these pressures.  If we acknowledged that yes, we think other people are idiots – they are irrational, stupid, demanding, unreasonable, or any other term that fits our feelings about them – but they are still human.  As such we need to also acknowledge their idiosyncracies – they are probably also innovative, enthusiastic, creative, industrious, big picture people who just do things differently to us or need a different routine to what we need.

By taking into account that others simply have different needs and requirements to get through their day, while acknowledging and allowing for that pang of pride in our own rational and superior selves, perhaps we’d all find ourselves getting along with less stress and more happiness in our lives.

Unless they’re driving in front of me ……….. in which case, did that idiot get their license out of a cereal box???