Friday, March 27, 2015

So Little Patience & Tolerance...

I am not sure what it is, exactly, although I am sure a cancer diagnosis has a lot to do with it. I have found myself having so little patience with some things, mainly things of the seeming inconsequential type.

I say "seeming" because what may be inconsequential to me, I recognize, may mean something totally different to another. It is just when that kind of stuff has an effect on me that I am most aware  of just how little it means.

It is of zero consequence to me. Of zero consequence to my well-being. Of zero consequence to my survival.

It may sound horrid. It may sound selfish. It may sound all kinds of things unflattering.  The fact is, I just don't care. I could not care less. 

I just do not have the ability, nor time, nor energy to care about many of the things that often seem to matter. Being in a place of trying to survive makes everything else more difficult, if not downright impossible. 

Many times people think that think that we make choices when it comes to stuff. It would be easy to tell me to look at things differently. But there are sometimes life does the choosing for us. Sometimes you get a banquet to choose from, and sometimes all you get is what is served. Sometimes you get a menu, and sometimes there is a buffet.

And sometimes you limit your own intake. Sometimes you choose to limit the options. Sometimes it is predicated by circumstances, and sometimes circumstances demand it.

It may sound like I am judging the choices of others, and perhaps I am. I don't think so, though. I also don't think most realize how how little is truly important until something shows up that can have the possibility to change everything. And when that happens, that bridge of things that we relate to others on often can deteriorate - if it was ever even there.

I recently had someone criticize me for how I have handled things. Her Facebook page is full of game stuff. I can't relate. Obviously, she couldn't, either.

Dealing with cancer has changed me greatly in some regards. There are times I wonder if people knew what I knew if they would also feel differently, and also have less patience. 

In the moment there seems to be not much chance to say anything. There is a game, of sorts, played, and most play by the same rules. I won't question you, and make you uncomfortable, so don't do it to me. I like this place of ignorance. Leave me here.

It is not all people, all circumstances, but it is extremely common and happens a lot. I overhear many conversations that probably don't matter in the grand scheme of things.  

I could be wrong. 

This could all be a perception of my making. I get that. It is what makes me a bit reluctant to even post this. 

At the same time, maybe my willingnrss to say these things will make a difference for someone who struggles with similar thoughts. Or maybe someone who has never considered it will see things a new way. 

I don't expect people to see things "my" way. I do not have a lock on "right" - except for when it comes to myself. The best I can hope for is to have others respect me, my situation, and my views. In return, it is my hope that I do that for those I interact with.

As we have a tendency to believe a person has to be in accord with us to respect us, there is an uneasy line we walk when we aren't of the same mind as the other person.  

How do I respect another without disrespecting myself, and without upsetting the other person? There are all too many times the task appears so formidable, it is ignored all together.

I say this to you not to make you uncomfortable, but in the hope that you might consider a perspective that is helpful to me. There are so many times I have so little energy and resources, and the last thing I need is to talk about stuff that takes my energy, but gives me nothing in return.

For some, the idea of that removes all manner of available conversation. For me, I see it as a prospect to chart some pretty awesome waters.

Sadly, many will never be in a position to truly understand the cost of the kind of conversations I am talking about - unless they find themselves in a similar type of situation, too. That leaves a big chasm, or creates ample opportunity for growth,depending on which side of the interaction the parties stand on.

I think the place to start is the ability to talk about these kinds of things, and bring them into the light of day. They may, in sheer teror, run back into the darkness, but it doesn't mean we can't try.

I saw a quote about progress, "The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." (Charles Kettering)

I would absolutely agree. Things I often talk about/suggest take a degree of change, and people aren't always willing to go "there." The fact is they may think where their "here" is just fine, and there is no there to get to.

I am not clear where "there" is, but I am thinking there could be one that has a greater level of love and empathy for all parties concerned. I would think that is a there that would be worth working toward. 

Many say they want a better world, but look at it only on a macro (big) scale. They think the individual relationships and reactions have nothing to do with what happens in the bigger picture. 

The seemingly smaller pictures count, whether you start with them, or go back and fill them in, but they are always there, and they always matter. If you think about science, it is always finding smaller "pieces" of matter that make up the things we know, and many scientists are already asking what else there is. Whatever they find counts unto itself, but also adds to what is already perceived to be known. Pieces add up. They do not exist on their own.

We do not exist on our own. Others matter. The trick is to find a way to interact with people and things in a meaningful way, even when we can't, and don't, relate. It seems to me that what we do, and don't do, in relation to others is what what often brings us our experience of life, for seeming better or worse. 

At the same time, I don't think that means we have to be open to everyone and everything. It is just not realistic. Part of the puzzle, I think, is being able to know where we stand, and be able to stand there without knocking someone else down in the process. It also means not taking things personally when another does not match us, and allowing others to be where they are - even when we couldn't be any farther from any possible agreement.

Easy? Ha! It takes work to be able to relate. It takes communicating. It takes a willingness to ask questions, and really hear the answers. It takes truly valuing the other person. When we bring judgments to the table, and our own set of shadings from life experiences, it is difficult to be able to see anything without some sort of built-in bias, which often inevitably places those we interact with in a position of great disadvantage. 

It takes saying things that are uncomfortable, and risky. It takes being honest when previous learning has taught us that survival, and being liked, means we should be dishonest, or at least silence what we truly think and feel.

It means being loving enough to embrace who and how we are, even when others may not appreciate, or even get, it - or want to get it. It means working through the myriad of issues, concerns, and questions that arise within us, without taking it out on those around us.

It means a lot more than I was ever taught as a child, as a developing human being. I was taught to be honest about the "factual" things, but never about the emotional or personal things. There was always some sense of correctness that superseded those kinds of "truths." Saying how one truly feels often inherently seems to have "wrong" and "bad" plastered all over it.

If we could just all be who we truly were, and stop feeling like we had to fight it, perhaps we would also fight each other less, and be better able to find ways to relate, instead of focusing on reasons to be at odds. Maybe if a part of me didn't feel so guilty about not caring any less, I could stop feeling as defensive as I sometimes do, and perhaps react differently, or even stop reacting, as a result.

It really seems that there are times life is more about unlearning things than learning them.

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