Less Tolerance

What? That can’t be right?  How rigid!  OH, now I see, part of the title is missing.  It should have said:

“Less Tolerance for Intolerance!

One day while I was waiting for my Doctor appointment, two women were having a conversation across the seating area from me. Hard as I tried not to, I couldn’t help but hear every single word between them.

……”and he lets his dog out before he goes to work, and it barks and barks at the squirrels until he lets it back in, at least a good 5 minutes every morning, and then the girls bird starts squawking! ”

“ Oh I can’t stand birds. No one should be allowed to have birds.  They don’t belong in cages.  And they’re so dirty and noisy!”

“Yes, well there’s no sleeping in, that’s for sure….”

“ And dogs. Oh! You know, there should be a law against having dogs in the city.  I don’t even like dogs.  They lift their legs on everything and dig and chew and smell!  Oh, he wouldn’t like living next to me, I’d be reporting him every day!”

“Well you know, I think it’s a rental there, next door.”

The other woman turned to a man seated in the corner.

“So, do you live in the area? Do you have rentals next to you?”

“Um, no, actually we’re in the condo’s by the lake.” he responded, clearing his throat.

“Oh, well, that’s got to be nice! I’m sure you paid for THAT location, right?”

The man shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

“I bet I know who you voted for, too. You know, we just pay property taxes through the nose, and others just clean up the benefits…and…..”

“Mr. Jones?” a nurse appeared just in time—the man scrambled out of his seat and scurried away behind the office door.

“Well. He sure wasn’t going to admit he voted for a loser!”

“And they let friends stay over and they park their cars in front of our house…I mean right in front of our house!” The other woman continued.

“What? Well I’d be stopping that right away! Why can’t they park in front of their own house? That’s your space!  Good grief, disrupting the neighborhood!  And they are probably having parties and making noise until all hours, too?”

“Oh yes, they do get loud sometimes on the weekends…”

“I don’t know how you stand it. I wouldn’t stand for any of it.  I like my quiet and space.  You need to say something!”  You need to put a stop to all of it.

“You know what? I just might.  And I’m not even sure if that girl works.

“Oh great.  So he’s shacking up with riff-raff?  Probably on welfare. There goes our tax dollars!”

And it just kept going on, and on, and on. I was trapped.  The waiting area was too small to get out of hearing range.

Don’t make eye contact. Look as sick as you can.  Pretend to be sleeping.  Just don’t, don’t, don’t look up!

They were relentless in their damning attack of the neighbor, some clerk at a store, a couple politicians, and some guy talking about gun rights on the news.

Then…apparently….they ran out of topics to rant about, because suddenly they both turned and looked at me.

“So, what are you being seen for?”

 

Yikes.

 

I have three dogs.

I have two chickens.

I have a rabbit.

And guns.

And I shop at the store they were complaining about.

And we do not share the same political views.

I was pretty sure they didn’t need to know anything about what I was being seen for.

“Oh! I just realized I left something in my car!  I’m going to run get it real quick if the nurse comes.” And I made my escape.

There was a time when I’d relish jumping into the conversation and try to debunk their nasty outlook and assertions. Kill um’ with kindness, and blow down their house of dark cards.  But it was 7:30 in the morning, and I hadn’t had my coffee yet, and their “bitch session” was so intense, I simply did not want to engage with them on any level.

More specifically, I had no interest in putting a foot into their “ring” because I’ve entered the world of “Less Tolerance for Intolerance”.

This area of LESS was one of the easiest for me to settle into. It was easy to implement yet very complex to think about if you really want to wrap your head around the axel and ponder it—which I absolutely don’t care to do.

For me, intolerance is simply another word for Extremism, or Puritanism, or any “ism” that would define an individual as being so firm in their own perspective that they refuse to consider or respect another point of view.

Who are they? Surely you’ve seen some. They walk among us.  They are scattered everywhere—stores, schools, offices, places of worship, public gathering places, on television, the radio, the internet.  They could live next door, or down the block, be in the cube next to yours, or in their cars, on the bus, in line at the coffee shop.  You may not notice them at first, as they could be quiet until they’ve identified something to take issue with.  They demand, they judge, they victimize, villainize.  If you don’t agree with them you are basically damned.  If you don’t take action with them against whatever their issue is, you, too, become part of the problem, open for verbal attack, and yes, you become the enemy.  If you don’t make the same choices, see things as they do, you are clearly not worthy of their acceptance.  Hyper sensitive, name calling, finger pointing, ridiculing, badgering, and bullying.  Some, with a sharp tongue and intimidating tone, others, with a cocked eyebrow, looking down their nose in disgusted disapproval.  I’ve seen it all.  Have you?

In a nutshell, I have no tolerance for that.

Especially in the last couple years, it seems our culture has become so narrowly focused and driven to extreme perspectives. Families have been torn apart over polarized views.  Relationships, friendships, careers have been destroyed over differing views.  That overbearing insistence that what they believe is the “right” thing, and everyone else should forgo all else and join them in their belief.  “My way or the highway”.  If you don’t…well…..things definitely go downhill from there.

Heck, I’ve been called out for what I eat, who I know, what I believe, or what I don’t.

In a nutshell, I have no tolerance for that.

They say ignorance is bliss, but frankly, extreme behavior is totally ignorant, and anything but blissful. What makes a person believe they can be imposing their perspectives on others?  “If you’re not with us, you’re most certainly against us.”

In a nutshell, I have no tolerance for that.

Now let’s be clear, I’m not saying they can’t have their point of view.  They most certainly can.  We all have the right to think what we think.  Believe what we believe.   In the case I just described, hearing those two ladies was quite interesting.  I found myself full of questions.  At times I was sad, offended, and even concerned for them.

 Would they complain about soft rain falling on the garden because their steps got wet? All the nasty things they said about that politician–what if he was their son? What if I was their neighbor?  What if she needed help from that neighbor? Where do they get all this negative energy?  Do they have people in their lives that are there for them?  What in the world do they find joy in?

Yes, they are absolutely entitled to their opinions. Everyone is.  But for goodness sakes, don’t expect me to agree with you.  They were about the most intolerant women I’d witnessed in a while.

I have no tolerance for intolerance.

I’m blessed with a life that includes all sorts of amazing souls. A true rainbow spectrum of personalities, choices, beliefs, and directions.  Despite our differences, there is understanding, acceptance and appreciation among us for the good we all have.  I’m honored know people who are able to have their own view, follow their own path, make their own choices, yet live and let live with those who do not share their beliefs.  They show grace.  They show compassion.  They are thoughtful.  They see beyond their own selves. They look for common ground.  They carefully pick and choose their battles and even then, rarely go to the mat, choosing instead, a far kinder, more eloquent means of expressing their disagreement.   They can agree to disagree and still work, live and play together.

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is perfect. Nothing is permanent.  In the end, our time here on earth is about a blink of an eye long.  We can spend that time being agitated by things, trying to impose our own way, and basically suffering over everything that’s “wrong” with everyone and everything. Or what if, perhaps, we consider opening our minds and hearts to expand our perspective, be understanding of others, allow for and appreciate our differences, find things to be grateful for, experience the contentment that comes from living life with compassion and positivity?

“Ultimately we have just one moral duty; to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it to others.   And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”   Etty Hillesum

I choose to spend LESS time exposed to the fist shaking, finger pointing, judging, damning, and intolerant view. I choose to calmly turn away from the fanatic, the aggressive demander, the insister and the disparager.  I choose to not engage in that which doesn’t allow for a peaceful ‘live and let live’ environment.  I barely watch TV any more, as it’s so loaded with twisted, one-dimensional view points.  There is not one single solitary “thing” in our world worth getting all up in a bundle about.  Not one.  The proverbial saying “This, too, shall pass” pretty much nails it. History repeats itself.  Where we are, we have already been, and will be again someday.

If your view is the only one you can see, if you are unable to agree to disagree, and see the greater good, that’s okay. Pardon me when I don’t participate in your rant, your cause, or your acute opinion. Call me names if you must; say what you will, that’s your choice.  My choice, quite simply, (and to my delight) is to have less tolerance for intolerance.

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

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