I’m not the most tolerant person. I get frustrated with people and their habits easily. That being said, this may be the most hypocritical article I’ve ever written.
Being tolerant of others is the only way we’ll ever have peace in ourselves and around the world. As frustrated as I get with pro-lifers and others who have radically different views from my own, we all have to find some sort of patience and acceptance of each other. Part of growing up is realizing that not everyone thinks the same way you do, and learning to be okay with that.
Aside from people with different views, there are going to be people with annoying habits that make you want to gouge your eyes out. As much as I detest hearing other people chewing, learning to approach them kindly and patiently will solve the issue much more gently than reacting with anger and intolerance. Finding coping mechanisms that help you deal with the things that get under your skin will help you rest easy in the face of things that generally tick you off.
One habit I’ve taken up in order to avoid swearing at a complete stranger for chewing loudly is simply using headphones or evacuating the immediate area. When I see a dumb bumper sticker that goes against my own beliefs, I remember what it felt like to have a complete stranger approach me and attack my beliefs because of a bumper sticker . I also observe the person because nine times out of ten, it’s an older person who grew up in a very different time and will likely not be around much longer. It’s morbid, I know, but it helps me rest easy with my angry liberal-hippie heart.
Stephen Hawking recently made a bold and telling statement while giving a tour of London’s Science Museum to Guest of Honor contest winner Adaeze Uyanwah. Hawking stated that aggression is the biggest shortcoming of mankind, and that aggression should be replaced with empathy. Of all of the research and observations Hawking has made on climate change and the impending doom it could bring to Earth, he recognizes the simplest of truths: we humans are destroying our own existence. No species has managed to destroy as many other species as humans have, and most of it has been for the sake of controlling the environments around us.
In the fight to control as many resources within the imaginary borders we’ve created, we’ve left thousands upon thousands of species devastated in our wake. Nuclear bombs, deforestation and drilling for the liquid gold we call oil, all in order to be the country with the most resources, we’ve destroyed the pale blue dot we live upon. This can easily be blamed on our aggression. We aggressively pursue as many resources as we can, taking drastic measures which create consequences that future generations will have to face–all for the sake of our economy.
It may seem that someone with little stance in society may not have the power to disintegrate the hate and aggression all over the world, but by simply injecting empathy in your daily life, you may cause a ripple effect. Showing kindness in the face of adversity is one of the greatest tools we have in the fight against the unrest in the world. It’s easy to get angry at things you deem unfair, but instead of getting angry, it’s time to get smart.