In looking at the world today, I recognize that it’s not the same world that my parents experienced, or even the one I remember growing up.
Too many people lack compassion for those who are different—be it another ethnicity, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or class.
In some ways these prejudices have always existed, but in the last three decades there seemed to be more tolerance for diversity as a whole. Or perhaps the bigotry was simply more hidden or glossed over. However, from the 2016 election on, there’s almost been a tacit support of people expressing their prejudices, and with no apology for doing so.
From the 80’s through 2012, Fortune 500 companies—as well as government agencies—invested in diversity and sensitivity training to create a more inclusive work environment. Not to say that these measures aren’t still being taken, but it seems that far fewer strides are being made to uphold these values than in previous decades.
Meanwhile tolerance, in some cases, has devolved into resentment. Truthfully, I have always felt that “tolerance” is thinly veiled resentment in some ways. I mean, I’ve been tolerated many times in my life, and believe me, I can feel the difference between that and truly being accepted as equal.
So in understanding that we have become a less tolerant world, what can I do to help change it, and make it more loving, respectful and kinder to all?
Without going into politics, I would rather tackle our own individual worlds within the bigger world: What I can do is make a small contribution daily towards promoting positive energy, which creates a ripple effect throughout the world.
The number one rule is to not allow ourselves to become bitter and angry. Even when things seem negative, we must focus on the silver lining surrounding the situation.
For example, the other night I got all dressed up, put on makeup, gassed up my car, and drove to Beverly Hills to meet up with friends for a fun evening. I ended up waiting for almost an hour in the wrong location as I’d taken the address down incorrectly. Later I drove home, removed my makeup, and put my jammies on, feeling very depressed.
My roommate Alex came in and was curious why I was back so soon. Instead of counting the night as a total loss, he looked on the bright side: “Well, you got dressed up, got out, and that excited you. Since your sister Gloria passed away, you’ve been grieving, and haven’t been motivated to go out and have fun, so tonight was a good start!!!”
I took what he said to heart, and he was right: I needed to focus on the good that came out of it, not the pain and frustration of what felt like a wasted effort. Before I went to bed, I glanced at Gloria’s framed photo on my dresser, and felt like something in her eyes affirmed that Alex was right, and to keep moving forward, knowing that she would be with me always.
“Remember, I always loved to laugh, and passionately embraced life,” Gloria seemed to be saying. “And I can still do that through you. Buck up and don’t lose your smile or passion for each and every day!”
As we contend with the issues of the day, we have to monitor our mental sandbox lest it become a litter box.