“Can’t everyone just get along?”
I’m sure most of us remember movies, cartoons, and other media using that line from time to time, often as a joke to alleviate some struggle in the story.
Today, a large portion of our population is fighting. There are disagreements all over the board. If you’re not on one side of the argument, on one team, you’re considered a threat. They’re digging in on politics and fighting for one side or one issue without giving way. People are ousting family members, friends, coworkers, even strangers on social media.
With the pandemic last year and a lot of fear about health-related decisions, things are still boiling under the surface. I can feel the fear coming off of people at conventions, fear that becomes anger and hate. Everyone wants to be accepted for their own decisions, yet they want others to conform to them. The fear digs them into a trench on their side of the story based on the knowledge and perception they have of a topic.
Fear is our enemy. Fear is the enemy of tolerance, the enemy of love.
Tolerance is the ability to allow the existence of something you don’t agree with without interference. What we don’t agree with when we are stuck in three-dimensional perspectives causes us fear.
Fear can stem from many origins. Maybe we don’t want to be wrong. Maybe we’re right and we’re scared of the consequences of another person’s beliefs. Whatever that origin, fear is the source of negative emotions. When someone is angry, hateful, jealous, spiteful, or experiencing another negative emotion, it stems from fear. Often times, they don’t understand that fear without deep reflection.
We have to overcome fear. By reflecting, by living a spiritual life, and learning what causes you fear, you develop a stronger tolerance to those around you. You begin to understand that everything is a reflection of themselves, their own perspective of the world. If someone disagrees with you, if they get angry, you can more easily pass it off. They aren’t angry that you disagree with them. Their anger stems from a fear of you and your beliefs.
If you respond with anger or negative emotions, you aren’t tolerating them. You aren’t letting them exist without interference.
With the world in chaos over health, economics, climate change, infrastructure, politics, sports teams, whatever poison you want to pick, people are responding to each other in intolerant ways but asking for tolerance of their viewpoint. In some cases, they are destroying careers, ruining their lives due to disagreements and preaching tolerance at the same exact time.
Tolerance is not forced.
Tolerance must be given to be received.
If you want tolerance, if you want to be accepted, you have to realize you can only control the way you act in the world. You can only control your perceptions, your responses to situations. It’s up to you to give tolerance, real tolerance, when people disagree with you. Show others that, despite your disagreements, you can get along.
You don’t have to like them.
You don’t have to do what they do.
But you can tolerate them, their beliefs, and their existence. You can sit down and listen to their story. You can build a conversation about perspective to show them your side. Maybe you’ll learn something that reveals an error in your thinking. Maybe they’ll learn something and awaken to your side. Maybe you were both wrong and find yourselves meeting in the middle.
Either way, tolerance doesn’t come into the world by force. When you force it, the opposite happens. You build intolerance because you’re being intolerant and others act in kind.
Respond to all situations with tolerance. Step back from them if you have to. Walk away. We don’t need to surround ourselves with intolerant energies. But we do need to understand that many of us were intolerant of something or someone before we walked the spiritual path. And if we want the world to grow in love, one of the first steps is to tolerate everyone around us. We must allow their existence and help them towards a more tolerant, more loving state by providing them with the knowledge and wisdom they may lack.
Tolerance means tolerance.
The first step is to give it. The next is to keep an open mind, discuss the differences with people to help raise them to a more loving state, and maybe grow in your own way, which leads you into a more loving state.
Give tolerance if you want tolerance.