Case #1: AlongÂ the Timog-Tomas Morato rotunda, right beside Padi’s Point stood my favorite “Italian” restaurant, Napoli.Â Â A few years ago I had dinner there with my then-fiancee and some friends and naturally, we ordered Puttanesca, among other things.Â Friend A didn’t partake of that sumptuous pasta dish because according to her, she simply doesn’t like it.Â Friend B then remarked “What a weird person.”
Of course, it was meant as a joke – as I’m sure you’d all beÂ thinking how intolerant Friend B was for cracking such an intolerant remark seriously.Â But then, how many times have we seriously thought about other people as “weird” just because they don’t think as we do?
True-to-life story: someone had stopped talking to me simply because I told that person that I don’t watch Pinoy Big Brother.
And another said I’ve got some serious issues justÂ for declaring that The Da Vinci code isn’t good.
How should we reactÂ to people who, upon hearing others express their personal opinions, tell them to keepÂ their opinionsÂ to themselves?
Case #2: Ever encounter someone who’s been cheated on and feels so helpless that all the person could do was talk, just to avoid blowing up?Â How did you react to that person?Â Do you listen to him/her all the while setting a limit on how long you’re going to listen?Â Ever express your disgust for what you perceive as that person’s stubborn refusal to help him/herself?
Or how about someone who’s got a serious liking for another who’s already attached?Â Â Would you nag at that person for being a potential “relationship-wrecker”?Â Or would you assume that the person already knows what’s right and wrong, and so couldn’t do jack about his/her predicament other than pour out his/her frustrations by talking?Â Do you trust your friends this much?
Case #3: Ever had a friend who attempted suicide or did drugs because he/she couldn’t deal with a crisis?Â Do you extend understanding to this person or walk away because he/she didn’t handle the situation the way you would have handled it had you been inÂ that person’sÂ shoes?
Ever land judgment on a personÂ for reacting badly to a situation that you have never experienced yourself?
How many times have you been surprised in eventually finding yourself in a similar predicament and doing the exact same thing that you’ve judged others for doing when they were in that same exact rut?
I’ve been guilty of all three.Â And believe me, the eye-openers have been anything but pleasant.Â In fact, some of them were downright painful.
Ironically, those peopleÂ whose different opinions I didn’t tolerate, those that I’ve called wussies and unethical people simply because they vocalized their feelings, thoseÂ that I’ve criticized for doing stupid things that I so pompously declared I would never do… they’re the ones who stood by meÂ during my times of crisis… whenÂ I committed or cameÂ close to committing the very same things that I bragged I would never, ever be stupid enough or immoral enough to commit.
It was a very humbling experience.
Lesson learned: a little tolerance goes a long way.