Opinion: When is enough too much?

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Commentary by Terry Anker

Enough is Enough.

We’ve all had it.  Even amiable Dick Van Patten came to realize that his number was eight. We may find our depths at different points, with that threshold arriving quicker in certain circumstances than in others. Yet eventually, we reach a limit where we cry out, “Enough is enough!”

There are times when we are seemingly boundless in our ability to idle our personal concerns and give our attention to the needs of others. A very impatient teenager will wait hours online hoping to get tickets to see a favored artist but will roll their eyes with pointed approbation if mom hasn’t arrived early to pick them up after band practice.

Then there are times when we seem to be sitting at the very limits of our notions of tolerance. Like a man standing on the edge of a cliff, our senses are heightened and our blood pressure rises. One misstep could lead to great peril. While we walk each day from spot to spot with little fanfare, a stumble at this precise moment could prove disastrous!

It is good to reserve frustration and anxiety for occasions when it is truly required rather than simply express petty demands with each interaction. Patience is a virtue.  Besides, if we demand too much people will stop listening to our needs. But assuming that we all have a biologic or existential limit to our capacity for tolerance, how do we find it? When are we asserting our justifiable right to clear a little space and not giving in to our own selfish desire to have our way?

Hoosier songwriter and singer John Mellencamp paraphrased a long list of others who preceded him when he penned, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’re gonna fall for anything.” The trick may be to know when enough is enough.

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