Friday, January 16, 2009

Do Unto Others

I recently heard a really great question that made me think, and so here goes. Does being tolerant mean being tolerant of ALL things? How far does it extend? And if we have limits to tolerance, does that make us intolerant?

Kind of bears thinking about, doesn't it.

If the answer is yes, then I don't think there is a single tolerant person on the planet. I do not know of anyone who tolerates all things. I mean, I really try to put myself into the shoes of others and see where they are coming from. Actually writing flawed characters has helped me a lot. And recently I know of someone who made a decision I can't imagine making. I just can't. But I immediately follow that up with the statement that this person is just making the decision they think is best. I am not in their shoes. I don't know what it's like.

But I have limits. And that does, I guess, make me intolerant on some level. And things that I won't tolerate aren't the same as things someone else won't. And here's my next big statement:

TOLERATING SOMETHING IS NOT THE SAME AS CONDONING IT

I may be able to empathise with someone's motivation for doing something, but that does not necessarily mean I condone that decision.

This all brings me back to one thing that I have difficulty with and it's negativity and it's something that has been on my mind for a while. And again, I'm sure that much of this feeling is due to past experience on my part. And I do my share of complaining. I'm human after all, and have bad days like anyone else.

I could go back and give specific periods in my life where the glass was definitely half empty rather than full and so perhaps my attitude is based on avoiding those feelings again. But I get so tired of doom and gloom prophesies. Honestly, the more I hear about how awful things are, the more I have to close my mind. It is enough to make a person not want to get out of bed in the morning. It's like the experiment where you go shopping and smile and people and they smile back, growl at people and get treated like crap. How you go into life, people, is how you're going to go out. Negative people say they are being realistic. No, they're being negative. Realistic people know the facts. The difference is that positive people look at ways to make it better while negative people despair and are inactive.

Beyond that, this is the one other thing that I will not tolerate and that is those who attempt to make themselves look better, brighter, smarter, wittier - by tearing someone else down. It does not make you better. It makes you small. It makes you a bully. I freely admit I hate snark. Snark is not fun and it's not entertainment. It's cruel. And it's negative.

That's why I surround myself with positive people. That's why I love the quote from David Foster's book: If you look at everything as an opportunity, you'll get to the top. If you look at what happens as opportunities rather than roadblocks, think of what you can achieve. Positive outlook is why I love writing romance novels; it is why I'm proud to be a part of sites like The Pink Heart Society that celebrates category romance rather than criticize it. You will not find me in places where entertainment is "witty ridicule" of other authors. It is why you will not read negative posts about other authors here. I know how I would feel if someone did that to me. How could I do that to someone else and call it fun?

I could go on and on and I'm sure I've opened myself up to some criticism and that's fine. For me, kindness breeds kindness and contempt contempt.

Now I'm off to actually get some work done before my CP comes through my monitor with her whip telling me to get to it.

8 comments:

  1. Did I say a word? But I am expecting a chapter...

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  2. Trenda3:00 PM

    Amen, Donna!

    As Mike Dooley says, "Thoughts become things...Choose the good ones!"

    Trenda

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  3. Hugs, my sentiments exactly Donna.

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  4. Right on Girlfriend!!
    Hugs

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  5. Anonymous1:54 PM

    Yesterday at work, I got stabbed in the back by someone I thought was my friend. I've seen her do this to other people so why I thought I was excluded is beyond me. I have also come to realize she is very negative and since I don't like to live feeling that way I now have to separate myself from her.
    Great post. Thank you.
    -Marcie

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  6. I agree with you Donna. People should just be kind and they won't have to worry about the opposite! :)

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  7. I saw this today and thought it was fitting...

    "The last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

    Viktor Frankl (1905–1997)
    Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist

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  8. I can't deal with snarky people on a regular basis. I'd much rather surround myself with positive influences. Great post!!

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