Twitter rocks. As a newbie twittering for all of four days, I can say with confidence that it is a sign of the connectedness that we are. Twitter, like the internet which makes it all possible, connects us with like and unlike-minded people from across the world regardless of nationality, age, race or religion. This became clear to me when on my second day of twittering I posed a simple question to my new friends “What do you find most difficult to accept in this world (ex: cruelty)” and the tweets came rolling in. The replies I received were not only immediate, they were deep, insightful and oh so introspective.
What is Most Unacceptable
Ignorance for @klasinki , lovelessness for @kevinpmiller, laziness for @KristieMcNealy, fatality for @CindyKing, bullying for @Courageous_one, mediocrity for @LewisHowes, political parroting for @BlueSkyDrive, and independence for @ChrisRomer, which he skillfully argued can have many negative effects though independence is typically embraced in our society, to which I found my head moving up and down in hearty agreement.
I asked this question because it is a question that has been rolling around in my brain all week, marinating there you could say. After days of kicking this around and searching for my own answer, it finally came to me loud and clear…‘cruelty’.
Why cruelty?!? What makes it hardest to accept? I cross examined myself. Why not apathy like @gourmeted? Or racism like @betterinpink? Why not the number-one-top-choice for hardest thing to accept in the world per all the many tweets I got that day, namely intolerance? Intolerance was, after all, the only word to be mentioned by more than one tweeter, submitted by @joegreenz, @TracyOconnor AND @klasinski as well.
A Closer Look
Cruelty. It dawned on me that whatever the answer, I was going to have to take a closer look at it, this thing I cannot accept above all other things in the world. Why? Because many, many, many, many years ago in college psych 001 (yeah, I said MANY) I learned about this thing called “projection” and it’s haunted me ever since. Now whenever I point the finger this word crops up and asks me to take a long hard cold look at myself in the mirror. You just happen to be reading my long hard cold look.
@gloreebe88 responded to my Zen riddle of a question with not an answer but a statement. She replied with a tweet that spoke of self forgiveness and how so often the thing she least accepts in another is the very thing she least accepts in herself. BINGO. After clarifying this awesome point of distinction she did retweet me with her answer…arrogance. Yes. Awesome. A most humble of answers @gloreebee88.
Pausing to look at our resistance to accept ANYTHING is worthwhile, especially as parents. As the saying goes, what we resist persists. This was made clearly evident for me this weekend in the area of cruelty when from upstairs I heard shrieks and cries of pain and injustice from not one but both of my daughters. I took the steps by two and three from downstairs to upstairs from whence the cries came and arrived on the scene to find my eldest in a bath and my youngest on the floor by the tub holding her foot, both I tears. Both cried, whined and began to simultaneously make their case for justice to be served on their behalf against the other. The scene was chaos. My mind fed me many things, none of which were born of love or tolerance I have to say. More like fear and judgment. “What the @#@@!” I said in my head. I had not witnessed the grievous wrong doing that had apparently transpired, nor did I want to know the details or pick a side. Instead, ever King Solomon, I took my fear and judgment out on both daughters. I did this in the normal ways we all act out of fear…in not only my thoughts, but in my words and deeds as well.
Yes, fear and judgment of this thing I had just declaired I can least accept (cruelty) had a grip on me . It was there in my glaring stare, disapproving voice and pointing finger which worked to distance my girls from one another and stop the cries (like nails on a chalk board for me…so hard to “be with”). Only later was I able to examine my response. My daughters had acted cruelty to one another. So what was my response? Was it loving? No. Was it present? No. Did I model forgiveness and tolerance? No. Was my response triggered and ineffective? Yes. Did it leave me stressed out and a little off balance? Yes again.
Ahhhhh. So here is the reason for this question that has plagued me all week. What can I least accept? Why? How does this render me ineffective in making a difference in this area? Many have said it much better than I:
“Whatever you dislike in another person, Take care to correct in yourself.” – T. Spratt
“Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.” – Confucius
“The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger and attachment, fear and suspicion, while love, compassion, and a sense of universal responsibility are the source of peace and happiness.” – Dalai Lama
The irony was not lost on me that the number one answer that I received to the question “what is the hardest thing for you to accept in the world?” was intolerance. It IS hard to accept un-accepting people in the world…isn’t it? Perfect. Beautiful. Full circle. Accepting the un-accepting; accepting the unacceptable…especially in ourselves. What a great place for us to begin.
So it’s time for me to try my word on for size. Where am I cruel in my life? When do I treat others less than lovingly? How am I cruel to my own kids? To my husband? My dog? The planet? Nature?…including my plants that I keep forgetting to water. Ha. And then most importantly, can I forgive my own cruel nature? Can I stare at this list I just made on all the cruelty that is me and still love myself? If so, then I am learning to forgive. If so, then I am learning to love with an awesome sort of love; the unconditional sort. And if not for myself, then who can I love this way? Lot’s or questions this week…i know. But many times it’s in the asking that we find our own answers.
This week, let’s practice accepting the unacceptable, especially where it exists in our own self. By loving and forgiving this place in ourselves, we’ll be that much more able to love and forgive it in our children, our community, and our world. Darkness never made the darkness any lighter. We can only hope to effect the things that we can “be with”, so let’s all do our best and accept the unacceptable within.
Suzanne, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne owns a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers life coaching as and parenting tips through the positive parenting e-Book Yogi Parenting.