Something has really been bothering me lately. You see, I've always thought of myself as a very accepting person, and I've tried to become more so over the years. However, lately, I've realized that I'm not a tolerant person. I've found myself using words like, "idiot", "dumbass" and "moron" in reference to other people and their ideas. I kind of felt bad about that. For about a minute. Until I realized that I don't have to be tolerant of everyone and their opinions.
The word "tolerant" is often applied to the practice of accepting groups of people, usually those who are minorities or who are oppressed in society. I actually hate the using the word "tolerant' in this context. To tolerate, according to Dictionary.com is:
None of these definitions apply to a person or group of people. Allow the existence or presence of a group? While this first definition goes on to include the phrase "without prohibition or hindrance," I believe far too many people focus on the first porition when considering groups of people who are different from themselves or who practice lifestyles one may quesiton. I, for one, think it's a sad state of affairs to simly "endure without repugnance" an entire group of people whose existence is not threatening in any way to your own.
But then it hit me that I really AM intolerant of large groups of people. In fact, I've been accused of as much and have tried to deny it. Well, I've decided to deny it no longer. I absolutely am intolerant of certain kinds of people. I will not tolerate anyone who:
- Wants to deny the rights of others simply because they do not fall in line with one's own sensibilities or ideals
- Put their own fear or ignorance above the well-being of others
- Feels that others are not deserving of the same basic rights he or she enjoys
- Allows their own fear to move them to promote practices that prohibit others to live freely and comfortably.
I could go on and on. Much of my rant has been politically motivated. But a great deal really just has to do with human decency. In fact, I recently read a quote by Ellen DeGeneres that really stood out to me. She's one of my favorites, and I think it applies.
"I stand for honestly, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values."
So I've decided that from this moment forward, I will embrace my particular brand of intolerance. I will not tolerate the above mentioned behaviors nor the people who perpetrate them. If that means omitting people from my life, or at least from my regular encounters, so be it. I'm proud of my values, and I intend to live congruently within them.
What about you? Has the New Year brought you introspection and self-realization?