Intolerant tolerance

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My native Finland recently held its presidential elections. The runner up is a skilled and diplomatic politician, and he also happens to have a male life partner. What happened in the media and particularly the social networking sites was quite remarkable – suddenly everyone was preaching about tolerance, acceptance and love. All good and important themes that most of us perceive as virtues of course, but observing the debate made me realise how easily our emotions take over and the best of intentions turn into personal crusades.

If we are really honest, many of us only tolerate people who share our views. Think about any issue you are passionate about – human rights, animal rights, environmental issues, health, money, spirituality, politics- and the intense feelings it stirs up in you, particularly when you see or hear something that pushes your buttons. Can you say you do not judge? How tolerant are you when facing injustice?

If we say we don’t judge, then that non-judgment should extend to everyone, even those we do not agree with. Love cannot win if we focus on its opposite. Argument only breeds further argument. This is not to say we should condone actions that are not in alignment with our values – it’s just that the line between creating a more unified world and becoming the very thing we fight against is very thin.

Sometimes we become intolerant in our tolerance. Open your heart and extend love.

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