Tag Archives: Toleration

Judgment or admonishment, excuse me either way…

13 Apr

Do you ever feel like you just want to be accepted — or left alone?  There are times when I get tired of having others reject, correct, chide, or otherwise disrespect me, that I wonder if it is worth meeting new people.  Is this what life is like for anyone else?

I make an effort to tolerate others “ad nauseum” (it just doesn’t make sense to get upset over little things in life), but it is not reciprocal.  Sometimes it is hard to keep up the good fight (being tolerant), when others seen to tolerate nothing (and then insist on telling me.)

I try to follow the motto “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” – and yet most people disagree.  I often am told off if I glance in the wrong direction (according to them.)  If you are a reader of my past posts, you might sense my growing frustration with how there is so much judgment and so little acceptance in the world today.

This week it started with a Facebook post…

I shared a quote (picture at left) on my Facebook wall and in turn, several friends shared it on their wall.  Different people commented – most agreeing with the sentiment – except for one who wrote:

” I understand the wrong of being judgmental. But to never judge doesn’t ring true does it? Quoting from “http://www.tldm.org/News6/judging.htm” Those without convictions proclaim a mistaken notion of tolerance: But ‘tolerance’ can be a genuinely harmful force when it becomes a euphemism for moral exhaustion and a rigid or indifferent neutrality in response to every great moral issue—when, in G.K. Chesterton’s phrase, it becomes the virtue of people who do not believe in anything.”

Holy Schmoley!

It always surprises me how religious zealots will cite scripture to justify why they deserve to confront (and judge) others about their choices.  While such people spout words of acceptance (“God loves everyone…”), they are typically intolerant of anyone who does not share their beliefs.

When religion and righteousness enter the conversation, logic often seems to exit. We end up with bullying behavior from adults under the guise of “I am compelled to save you (from your own misguided way of thinking)… because I know better than you what is right!”

Argh – I hate that!   It is like saying “I accept everyone for who they are, but I simply will not tolerate anyone who is not as righteous as me!”  (It reminds me of a notepad I saw once depicting a crotchety an old woman ranting “There’s nothing I hate more than intolerance!”)

You have a right to your opinion, as long as you agree with me…

I realized that what bothered me about the comment was that it felt too familiar. My parents use guilt and scripture as rationale for their non-accepting, strongly worded opinions, and incessant chiding (verbal spanking). It makes no difference to them that I am a good person with high morals and values, it only matters if I follow their edicts.

You might think, after decades of guilt mongering, I would have figured it out.  I COULD be loved and accepted if I could just fit into the first communion dress I wore as a child. It will never happen, and I am happy and healthy loving myself.

Today, I live thousands of miles away, yet my father continues to send me (dis)missive emails.

You might recognize the pattern of the email:  “Dear Carol, How are you?  I hope you know how much you are hurting (or how much suffering you are causing to) <insert family member name here> by <insert unrelated behavior here>.  You know that God would want you to <insert their recommended behavior change here> because He says <insert convenient bible passage here>.”

Fight or flight (or fright?)

I have learned to ignore such rhetoric until it escalates with follow-ups.  At some point, I end up confronted with the primal “fight or flight” response, and neither renders a good outcome.  Fight means a showdown of religious righteousness that I am unwilling to wage (it is a no win).  Flight ends up being a chase where I am eventually caught to further face guilt-laced “gentle correction” to save me from the fires of hell.  Why so much judgment when there is so  much goodness to accept?

Judgment or admonishment – who needs it?  Please excuse me either way…  I am living a good life, and no matter how much judgment you heap on me, I’ll still tolerate you.  What do you think?

Have a good week!

Carol

Tolerance for Divas? Not on my watch…

23 Jan

Is it just me or are there more “diva” women around than ever before?  I am noticing that there are more “women behaving badly” who act like spoiled two-year olds with their women friends.  Often, such women attribute their abhorrent behavior to “going through a divorce” or “I’m in a bad place” as rationale for mistreating tolerant and giving friends.

I do realize that men treat women badly, and women treat men badly, but today I want to talk about women who treat non-romantic, purely platonic friends poorly – just because they can get away with it.   This came up on my radar again today when one of my best  friends called me to talk about a situation that arose over the weekend.  One of her women friends yelled at her in a parking lot and she wanted my opinion on whether she deserved it.  After listening to her (the story follows), I realized that she was subjected to “diva treatment” at the hands of said-friend and it was totally unwarranted.   As I listened to her relay how she was embarrassed, amazed,  and ultimately saddened by the way her friend treated her, I thought about how I have endured similar treatment by women who at one time I had also considered friends.

Here’s the story:

  1. Jess (my friend) went out with Tracey (the one I’m calling a diva) to a beach bar for a drink before going to a party, and after ordering a drink, Tracey decided she was bored with the selection of men and wanted to leave. Jess had just started to enjoy her drink and told Tracey that she wanted to finish it first. (Diva infraction #1: Jess didn’t immediately follow Tracey’s request to leave.)
  2. When they got to the party, Tracey got a phone call from her boyfriend who wanted to meet her at another place, and Tracey told Jess they had to leave immediately. Jess told Tracey that they had just arrived at the party and she wanted to stay for a few minutes to talk to a few friends they had come to see.  (Diva infraction #2: Jess asserted her right to talk to others.)
  3. When they left, (Tracey stood by the door pouting until Jess was ready to leave 15 minutes later), Tracey blew up at Jess in the parking lot yelling that Jess was self-centered, selfish and really didn’t know how to be a friend!  Classic “diva” behavior!

Now if these were middle-school pubescent teens, one might forgive such an outburst, but these were mid-forties women dressed to the nines going out for a couple of drinks on a Saturday night.  If it was an isolated incident, maybe one could attribute it to an error in judgment.  But this isn’t isolated behavior – it is classic, spoiled, mid-life diva-esque behavior on the part of those who never grew up.  Unfortunately, those of us who were taught to tolerate others often forgive this type of behavior until it spirals out of control.  As a result, we end up having to release such toxic friendships, with the result being a smaller and smaller cadre of friends to hang out with.

In the end, my friend Jess was disheartened and asked what it was she did wrong; what had she done to incite Tracey’s outburst?  She even pondered what it was she did to “deserve” such treatment. (Jess is one of the most tolerant, and giving human beings I know!)  The answer is that it was not Jess’ fault for Tracey’s bad behavior and there is little she can do to prevent a future outburst (aside from trying to talk to Tracey about how she feels.)  More than likely, Tracey has always gotten away with such tantrums and sees her behavior as “normal”.

I had a friend Lisa this past year who was just like Tracey – she would leave any occasion the minute that she was not 100% entertained or if the men in the room did not adore her “accoutrements” (she used to tell me that “any guy who does not stare at my chest must be gay”). It became too much of a burden to tolerate her diva behavior: she bored way too quickly, was entirely self-absorbed, and she would abandon me the minute a good-looking potential boyfriend walked into the room.  I realize that there are simply too many middle-aged “divas” looking for new friends they can abuse and I am simply no longer up for it.  Saddly, there are others like my friend Jess who are finding out the same thing (even though this was the first major blow-up at Tracey’s hands.)

It occurred to me that women often treat their “friends” much worse than others would tolerate, and it is those of us who are givers (and over-givers!) who suffer the most at the hands of these “divas”.  We misguidedly take responsibility (and blame) for the bad and immature behavior of others – and it has nothing to do with us!

As Jess and I talked, I thought about a stand of trees in a forest – some trees tall and strong, others tall and brittle, others large and looming.  The trees that are strong and tall simply bend and sway in strong winds without complaint. The tall and brittle ones tolerate minimal wind with branches snapping at the slightest breeze.  Jess and I and Tracey and Lisa and other women are all part of a similar forest.

Some of us have grown up to learn to tolerate the tirades and verbal abuse of others – and we learn over time that wind and storms are not about us – they simply surround us.  Others, have somehow grown up to feel they are privileged to deserve special, sheltered treatment and who blow up at the slightest breeze.  Most often, these “divas” justify their right to snap and behave badly by blaming others for even the smallest breeze.

Going forward, I believe that as women, we need to stand up for the givers among us and say “no more!” to the divas who treat us poorly. Slowly we can hopefully change the world…even if it is one diva at a time.

p.s., Here’s a link to the Self-esteem: Personal  bill of rights – a great reminder that we deserve great treatment from others – especially ourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7Zw99gPKvs

Have a great week!

Carol

Dear Daughter, Lessons from a female engineer (part 2)

31 Jan

You might be hearing many people saying that these times are not “normal”, and if you listen to the media, you know that predictions say things will get better, get worse, or stay the same. No one has any idea what will happen, but because bad news sells newspapers, gloom and doom prevails.

Today is the “new normal”. It doesn’t matter what anyone says was normal before or what might be tomorrow. Your life is a combination of your environment, attitude, background, personality, and luck/opportunity and it is as unique as you are (I love that!)

This does not mean that life is easy as every generation faces new challenges.  You will emerge from today’s economic instability with renewed energy and vitality – the universe never throws anything at you that you cannot handle (even when things seem overwhelming).

Carrying on from last week’s post (part 1) I hope you will let me share a few more tips from my life as a female engineer:

  • Listen to unsolicited advice (but you do not have to take it). Advice is worth what you pay for it, and when it is unsolicited, that tells you something right there.  Take it or leave it, just listen and then decide for yourself if it has any merit. Most people (with a few exceptions) throw out unsolicited advice hoping it will help you – but only you can decide whether to pick it up. When someone tosses you such advice, thank him or her, and then consider the source.

  • Be proud of you! (And your accomplishments.) You deserve praise from yourself.  I can tell you that I am proud of you, as can your friends, but the most important is when you are proud of you!
  • Patience and tolerance can be a double-edged sword. Practice patience with people – especially when it comes to situations out of your control (delayed flights), children, the elderly, and anyone who may not be as adept as you are.  The double edge comes when people take advantage of your patience in business or your personal life. When this happens, remember the adage:  fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.  If someone takes advantage of you for being patient, learn from it and don’t let it happen again.

The same goes for tolerance.  Start out by being open and tolerant to people whose beliefs or behaviors may be different from yours.  This has paid off greatly for me in my international work on ISO software standards: I have many global friendships and enjoy cultural adventures everywhere I travel.  The double edge comes when one is too tolerant – such as being tolerant of verbal or physical abuse.  When someone says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, your intuition may be telling you that your tolerance is set too high.  Abuse and bullying is beyond anything you should ever tolerate.

 

  • There are consequences to every action and no matter how much you plan, not everyone will agree with you. Always do your best – with decisions, work, and relationships.  By doing so, you reduce your regrets because you took action based on the information you had at the time. This does not guarantee that others will agree, but at least you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and take comfort that you did your best.
  • It is better to face conflict than to live a lie. Everyone faces times at work and in personal life where we avoid creating conflict with bullies, controlling people, and people who disrespect us for our opinions.  Of course I know that you already choose your battles wisely (why create conflict when it is over something trivial), there are also times when given conflict is important.  When you have to suppress saying what you feel for fear of an outburst or tantrum from someone you love, consider that it might be a toxic relationship. We do not choose who we fall in love with and there is no guarantee that your love will be emotionally healthy.  While another’s emotional health is not your responsibility, yours is.  Better to be yourself and face conflict than to sacrifice your emotional health and live a lie. It’s not always easy, but you deserve to be happy as you.
  • Always be authentic. I thought that I knew what this meant when I read it in author don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, but I did not.  Being authentic and living with integrity means never saying anything to yourself that you would not say to your best friend.  Our inner critic can be cruel and treat us with total disrespect (telling us that we are stupid or fat or naïve or a host of other harsh words). When we allow our inner critic free reign over our intellectual real estate (our mind) – we are not being authentic!  Make sure you treat yourself with the same level of respect you afford your best friend, and you will soon find that you have a brighter outlook on life.
  • Everyone carries baggage. Even the most gorgeous, thin, young, rich, poor, or athletic people carry baggage and you may never know to what degree.  Life is not fair in terms of who experiences what and when, but life guarantees everyone his/her own story.  Rejection, ridicule, embarrassment, failure, success, pain and joy are sprinkled in every life – some get more of the good or bad than do others.  However, no one escapes feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt.  Be kind to strangers (unless there is danger) – you just never know how much a kind word can mean to a person living with pain.

I will always be proud to be your mother no matter what you do and no matter where you live.  You have only one life  — do all you can to make it a happy one!

Love and hugs,

Mom

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