In-the-practice-ofNot everyone is going to like us, get us, understand us, see us clearly, or dig where we’re coming from, that’s just reality, and we aren’t going to understand everyone we encounter, either. I think making the attempt is the thing.

I definitely don’t expect everyone to like everything I write, for example. I put my heart out there, and sometimes I don’t do a great job of getting the feelings and thoughts from my head and my heart into words on a screen; I can live with that. I love and welcome a respectful dialogue about different ideas and opinions. Sometimes someone has a perspective that’s so unique, it makes me think about something in an entirely different way, and I’ll tell you, when I write and when I’m teaching yoga, one of my big goals is not to leave anyone out. I know that’s hoping for a lot, but I always try to think about all kinds of people — people who are happy, people who are suffering, those who’ve endured knifing losses, and those who’ve been spared, those who grew up immersed in love, and those who’ve had to teach it to themselves. I don’t want to alienate anyone.

Sometimes people cling to their ideas like a shield, you just can’t offer a differing opinion, it bounces off, and that’s okay, although I don’t think it’s ideal. It’s just that sometimes a person needs to grip their beliefs to get through. If they drop a particular idea, their whole life philosophy falls apart. Maybe they have coping mechanisms they need at this point in time, but I think it’s going to create problems for a person who can’t even entertain a different way of thinking about something over the long haul because in order to hold onto to their beliefs, in order to make the pieces fit, they have to reject anything that calls those beliefs into question. If someone doesn’t agree, they’re wrong, or they’re the enemy, or they’re blind, or lost or confused. A differing opinion or choice feels like a judgment against them.

I see this on the micro-level, between family members who stop speaking to each other because they dig their heels in. This thing happened, and they’re so attached to holding onto their story about why they’re right and their brother or sister or mother or father or son or daughter is wrong, they forget about the human being(s) they’re sacrificing in order to keep the story of their rightness. Everyone screws up. Everyone. We all say things and do things and think about things in a heated way sometimes. We get bogged down in layers of subconscious rage or pain or ideas we have about injustices that have been perpetrated against us, and sometimes we drag a lot of history into the present moment. You can’t turn back time. You can’t undo something you said or did, or something someone else said or did. You can only work with what is, and where to go from here, but angry stories aren’t going to show up by your bedside to hold your hand one day when you really need it. They aren’t going to cover you with a blanket, and rest a cool hand on your forehead. We don’t have to agree all the time to love each other, and to treat one another with respect and kindness.

If family members struggle with these things, then of course friends will, also, and acquaintances, and you can bet strangers will. Then you start adding borders and different countries and different languages, and you can see how this can lead to trouble. We’re so quick to categorize people, to assume we know, to label someone and check the box. Sometimes people rage, or vent, or call names, because they can’t see the eyes of the person they’re attacking anymore. Intolerance divides us, it creates an us, and a them and makes conversation impossible and obsolete.

When we dehumanize people, we can ignore them or hurt them. We take ourselves off the hook of doing the work to understand them or love them, or be open to anything they might want to say or share. Life is about connection, I truly believe that, and intolerance is the opposite of connection. Sometimes it’s good to examine where you’re intolerant. Maybe it’s with certain aspects of yourself. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a belief system, so don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying I think it’s important to make sure we aren’t clinging so hard to what we believe, we’re blinding ourselves.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

9 thoughts on “Tolerance”

  1. Well, yes. But sometimes, even when one is being tolerant, family members stop speaking to one anyway. It is tempting to chase after them, and say: no,, don´t go, I want you need you in my life, and you want and need me in your life too. And the post of not chasing and running after ANYONE is the key to THAT one. To let go, no? To not sell oneself to anyone, or try to convince anyone how wonderful one is. Boy, THAT post made me realize we really DO make ourself sick when we do that. And now this post too. about tolerance. to agree to disagree, no? I am feeling very philosophical tonight here in Acapulco!

    1. Yes, I agree. I think it’s really a case-by-case thing. Chasing is no good. I think if you have regrets about choices, actions, conversations, it’s always good to apologize and see if healing is possible. But you can’t hunt someone down. I just find it incredibly sad when people cling to their point of view, and can’t even open their minds to another way of feeling about things. We all have our perspectives. But I don’t think it’s ever good to chase anyone down, or sell yourself. I like that you’re feeling philosophical. Acapulco seems like a good place for that 🙂

      1. The most important post you wrote( for me) really is about selling yourself. I mean not selling oneself….and actually all your posts are important, because you DARE to say the truth. you are talking about “the shadow” things in life that are taboo to everyone, and I think this is a way for your readers to understand that one really CAN be happy, no matter what is going on……I especially like your stories of how you deal with what comes up, your stories about your own life. you know, I read alot, and I mean Erich Fromm, Hermann Hesse…..etc from the “old school”, and your writing really does evoke what I love and learn from the psychologists and philosophers. without all the new age bullshit! Ha!

  2. by the way, sometimes we are our own enemy, as Don Juan told Carlos Castañeda in” The Teachings of Don Juan”, the enemy is “el pinche Tirano”. (the fucking tyrant within).

      1. we all have the “pinche tirano”, the “enemy” inside…….and it is true that we learn from the enemy. alot. I want you to know that even though I already know about psychology somehow the way you write has made me realize that as my father always told me: “you know what to do.” And the important thing is that as Nike says: “just do it”, and I am . doing it. and it WORKS! especially practicing Yoga every day. going to Yoga class, and a daily home practice. Also all your “antidotes” for despair work too… my case, it is “my crazy family” ha! siblings, my 2 sisters “las hermanastras” especially, the family dynamics! oy! imagine, being the daughters of 2 shrinks! and living in Mexico City! Ha!

  3. Thank you, Aviva and Ally for both points. The one I chased is intolerant of me and then it’s hard to forgive myself when he can’t yet (another recent post). Doesn’t seem to matter all the others who can move on, I still wait on the one who has blocked me.

  4. Heya! I realize this is sort of off-topic but I had to
    ask. Does managing a well-established website such as yours require a massive amount work?

    I am brand new to operating a blog however I do
    write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share
    my own experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any
    ideas or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

    1. Well, the blog is part of a larger online yoga site, and yes, it takes a tremendous amount of work and effort to run it. If you’re just talking about the blog, it takes about 2 hours a day. I’m now in the habit of writing every day, some days it flows more easily than others (some days it takes longer than others ;)). And there’s also the time you’ll want to spend responding to your readers. But I would say, just put your heart out there, and the rest will follow. Love to you.

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