I was nurtured in a tolerant, accepting environment.  One didn’t, for instance, point a finger and say that this person or that was horrid, ugly, unpleasant, foul, evil, or wrong.  Instead, it would be noted that “I think…” or “I feel…”, with the implication that there are other ways to think and feel without the expressed or implied indication that some of those ways to think and feel are utterly stupid and destructive.

The result, over the years, has been that even if someone takes advantage of a soft spot in my head for years, using me as a tool and intentionally hurting me so that they can feel better, I was still very reluctant to say “that was wrong.”

In fact, the only person that I express explicit judgement on is me.  I am wrong, I am destructive, I am a burden, I am slow, stupid, ugly, or the wrong shade of puce.

I am wrong.

Wrong-doing is punishable.  No one else is corrected, no one else is rehabilitated; they were not wrong, so why should they be?  I am punished.  I see to it.

That doesn’t mean that, for instance, if I am used and hurt intentionally that I feel nothing about it.  I resent it.  And the fact that I resent it means that I am falling short on my tolerance, acceptance, and l’amour de l’humanité; there is an implied judgemental action there, which is inappropriate for me.  They are being horrid and evil, but I am falling short and therefor wrong and now must be punished for that.

My resentment of other people’s sins toward me is expressed by punishing myself for disliking it.

Mind you, I’m much better now than I’ve ever been before.  But today, in conversation concerning a cow-orker whose work habits are inconsiderate and unpleasant to work around, I started to suggest that the person sucked, the person should feel and act differently, and then stopped to regain my tolerant posture.  I felt, in that moment, the flash of resentment and the quick putting myself back in my place.  I was on guard for self-inflicted emotional violence, but I’d been good and nothing was done to me by me.

Then I did the math; objectively, the person is inconsiderate and unpleasant to work around.

Not a judgement.  An objective assessment.

I realized, in that moment, that this tolerance and acceptance nonsense can go too far and then some.  It is possible to be so tolerant and accepting that one is unable to point at Jeffrey Dahmer and say, “he has unpleasant behaviors and dietary habits.”

That’s stupid.

I’ve been around a few days by now.  I have, I believe, done a bit of thinking.  I expect that it is reasonable for me to make some value judgements about the world and the people in it and not be, necessarily, judged by myself as cruel and evil.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

2 thoughts on “Tolerance”

  1. Oh, silly. There are plenty of people to do that for you. Come here and have a snuggle instead!

    Seriously, though – well done for identifying that one and… thank you – I think I now have some more insight into me…

Comments are closed.