A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you Guy Finley's story "The Devil's Plan for Destruction" and some of my initial thoughts on that story about "tolerance."
If you haven't yet read that, click here and read it first so that the rest of this conversation makes sense.
In a nutshell, I wrote that "tolerance" is a form of hypocrisy where we are nice to people we really don't want to be nice to. We're nice and "tolerate" the person because we are scared what will happen if we don't "tolerate" the person.
Specifically, I wrote:
Many people responded disagreeing with what I wrote. People feared losing their jobs if they didn't "tolerate" their bosses. People fear losing loved ones if they don't "put up with" the aspects of people they don't like.
In other words, tolerance is viewed as a "necessary evil" if we are to survive in the world. It wasn't until I wrote "necessary evil" that I realized how perfectly titled Guy Finley's story is…
"The Devil's Plan for Destruction"
Tolerance IS destructive, both inwardly towards ourselves and outwardly towards the world. It creates a facade in which authenticity is lost, and personal power is replaced with fear of change and feelings of insecurity.
That said, it's important to realize that there are two ways to look at resolving the hypocrisy. One way is to take actions that are authentic expressions of how you already feel. For example:
- If you feel angry, you respond with aggression and harshness…
- If you feel you've been judged unfairly or been mistreated, you stand up for yourself…
- If you feel unimportant, you tell people how hurt you feel…
In those examples, "taking action" is one way to no longer be a hypocrite. That may work sometimes, and it may be the appropriate course of action in some circumstances. Your outer expression is an accurate reflection of your inner experience. That approach will bring your thoughts, feelings, and actions into integrity.
Though if you're feeling so rageful that you really want to kill somebody, acting on that would quickly cause irreversible harm to many people and land you in prison.
(or the electric chair if you live in Texas)
So in extreme case, resolving hypocrisy issues through action could potentially lead to very negative and undesireable consequences… more undesireable than the discomfort or pain we feel while staying in the hypocritical state of silently wishing ill-will towards others while outwardly acting kindly.
That's why the Inner Critic does not want you to resolve hypocrisy and inner conflicts. The more conflict the Inner Critic can create within you, the more easily it can keep you controlled within the boundaries of fear. The Inner Critic has very specific ideas about the "worst case scenario" that will unfold when you take actions to bring your feelings and inner world into integrity with your outer world.
Therefore, I recommend before you take action in the outer world to resolve your feelings of "tolerance" and the associated inner hypocrisy, explore another option:
Do "real inner work."
This is equally as fearful to the Inner Critic whose goal is to keep you small, safe, and surviving (in whatever form it thinks is best for you). See, the real issue around tolerance is the hypocrisy: Or put another way, the INNER experience we have which causes us to feel one way and then act another.
Tolerance by nature lacks compassion and authentic kindness.
Tolerance covers over our hearts with coldness, and it's that coldness which causes us to act without integrity ~ that causes us to act one way while feeling another. That coldness is experienced as an insensitivity we have to the world around us, and to our experience in the world.
That is a real conflict within that we have at a deep and primal level.
And our Inner Critic is terribly frightened that ~ if we stop tolerating people ~ we will have to come face to face with that conflict.
Because if we do real inner work, what happens is that our coldness, our distance, our anger and frustration, get transformed into personal empowerment. We learn how to be truly present in the moment and to accept people as they are.
When that happens, miracles happen.
That's because our inner coldness is transformed into, dare I say it, a form of love. More specifically, compassion as a form of love.
We begin to understand how much pain, difficulty, and harshness other people live with. We begin to understand why we "used to" have so much difficulty "tolerating" people.
And because of our transformed state — because we've done the inner work — we can't help but love them and hold space for their wellness, even if they are acting in ways that are not in alignment with our values or what we consider to be "higher" values.
By shifting away from 'tolerance' and transforming that inner conflict into kindness and love, we can then act in integrity. We can smile and hug those who used to 'annoy' us the most. We can forgive those who hurt us… even before they hurt us (so to speak). We can work for the bosses who criticize our work.
And that's all possible because we develop a kind of unconditional love for others, we recognize the difficulties we all face as humans, and we realize that sometimes a smile and a kind word are all it takes to transform a negative experience into a heartful one.
Now to circle back…
I'm not advocating that just because we do inner work and resolve our "tolerance" hypocrisy that we'll stay in negative, destructive, or hurtful situations.
But instead of reacting negatively, we will have the inner peace of heart and mind, and the personal power, to more fully explore which aspects of our life must fall away.
We can see which relationships are fulfilling and need to be deepened. We then know intuitively when to engage more fully with an experience. And we know when to disengage from something (such as a negative person or situation).
After transforming our inner tolerance / hypocrisy / conflict, it may be appropriate to give people their distance when they judge harshly, while other times it may be appropriate to engage and speak our voice.
It may be appropriate to quit our job, or alternatively it may be right to talk with the HR department about how our manager is mistreating us.
We can act in all of those ways with compassion and kindness in our hearts.
Because those kinds of outcomes are possible as a result of doing real inner work to resolve conflicts and discomfort within yourself, the Inner Critic has intense fear and tries to keep you from doing real inner work.
But if we react purely out of our past conditioning (which includes tolerance), then we'll never know the truly best outcome for a situation. We'll continue to be driven by Inner Critic thoughts of how we "should" be to try and avoid what we fear is the worst-case outcome of taking action to resolve conflicts.
Tolerance doesn't give us the power to take real, purposeful, personally powerful action. Tolerance disempowers us because our actions are not in alignment with our values and inner Truths. THAT is the real conflict. That's the "inside job" that has to be worked on if we are to ever have the peace of mind to live in a world which is constantly hurling conflict after conflict at us.
When you do "real inner work," I can't promise that the negative situations in your life will get resolved the way you ideally think they "should." What I can promise though, is that your inner world will transform in such fundamentally amazing and powerful ways that you'll be more capable of moving forward in the world with the necessary strength, courage, and willpower to resolve the inner conflicts that arise no matter what outer experiences you may be having.
And now you know why my program is called "Liberate Your Life."
Because your life — your inner life — is the one you have to live with until the day you die.
You can't liberate the world…
You can't liberate your annoying boss…
You can't liberate your disrespectful family members…
And you can't even liberate your significant others when they "just don't get it."
But you can Liberate Your Life because your life — your inner life — is the one thing you can develop total control over how you experience.
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