“Have we all become too soft?”  I wonder about that.

There is a Japanese word “Gaman” which is often translated as “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”. The term is generally translated as “perseverance”, “patience”, or “tolerance”.

If you grew up with the language, those translations sound so serious. In reality, I think it’s more like, “I can take it, but I’m going to do it in silence and not cause a scene.” You quietly endure and withhold the pain.

If you watched any Japanese dramas, you often see the office manager yelling at the younger employees.  And they have to stand there and take it.  They don’t yell back.  That is gaman.

Sometimes in Japan, they say that if you gaman too much, it’s not good. Emotions carry energy. Often, when you gaman, it’s about “negative energy.”  I feel that if this negative energy is not released outwardly in some shape or form, and kept internally, it will start to eat your insides. This means, it can probably cause sickness.  No one wants that!  So how much gaman should we endure?  We each have a different tolerant level so maybe it’s individualized.

I feel that learning to take the punches, while letting off steam is the healthiest way to go.

If I have a lousy day at work because the contractor is complaining about me, I come home and vent to my husband. When he has issues with his workplace, he vents with me. Once we both vent, we feel better and then we can “take it.”

Venting in any healthy shape or form can also include exercising, writing, or yes, even working. I feel I can take more if I vent.  Is the Japanese custom of gaman a good thing or bad?  How much can you gaman?

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