Intolerance of your intolerance…

No two people on the planet are any more than 50th cousins apart.

Pretty interesting, right?

I know, it’s very very distant. So distant that genealogists have no interest in these connections and there’s no worry that if you happen to marry your 50th cousin (or 49th, 30th, etc.) your baby will have 3 eyes and six arms.

But doesn’t it make you look at the people around you, even the strangers and the Facebook-only friends differently?

In a manner of (stretched) speaking – you’re family, we’re all family.

Yes, even with that person that looked at you funny in the grocery store the other day.

I had an experience this week that made me recoil inside – watching strangers engage in an argument on Facebook.

It started out innocently enough: expressing opinions over a post. Then it escalated into politics and on over to opinions over political figures.

You can guess where this is going – it’s like matches to gas cans. Express a less-than-favourable opinion on someone’s hero/heroine and you’re the ENEMY. The name calling is not so explicit but you can read between the lines of, “You don’t have all the facts…” umbrage taken over perceived tone and language used, etc. etc.

Reading this was so very ouch! My first thought was, “Yeesh, that person is being so intolerant of the other person’s opinion!”

And perhaps they were – or maybe they were just lashing out at what they perceived as an attack on their values.

But then I caught myself… With my “Yeesh…” am I just being intolerant of her intolerance?

And if I had waded my own way into the discussion and thrown in my 3 cents – what would be next? Depending on how I phrased my words and the heat in everyone’s heads, she would have likely expressed intolerance of my intolerance of her intolerance.

And then this would have led to me being further intolerant of her intolerance of my intolerance of her….

Wait, where was I?

So easy to lose track, so quick to fall down this spiral of “you are wrong!” And nothing accomplished as far as I can see.

So how do I stop this? Right here, right with me. I don’t even have to wade into that fray – and I didn’t. I end the intolerance by looking at what they are saying, not passing judgement (hard one, I know), and recognizing that absolutely everyone – no matter how extreme their views, how angrily they are expressing themselves, is simply playing their part in this whole universal unfoldment.

Even the haters, even the racists, even the homophobes, even the “You don’t like Ms. ______? You are stupid!” crowd. At the very least they serve as a teaching point, an example for all of us of what not to do – what we look like when we are closed.

Because really – how is anything being solved if you are hating on the haters, essentially being racist of the racist? It isn’t.

Am I saying condone these attitudes? Of course not. But is darkness lifted by adding more darkness, or by shedding light?

If you’re serious about ending intolerance, taking huge steps in shedding light is easy – even without sit-ins, meditation, and promising to “send light”. Shed light with you – start right here.

When I do an intuitive scan I don’t argue or push against the blocks I find, I seek to understand what’s going on underneath – the emotion behind it, the information that will bring the healing.

And you can do it too. Next time you come across the darker discussions, the sharper Facebook comments, the ouch! statements – watch what happens. Does an intolerance of their intolerance of his intolerance of…. etc. occur? Reverse course, seek the understanding instead.