There are a few people I’m not comfortable around. That’s the best way I can put it. And this bothers me.
Allow me to clarify. I don’t dislike these people, but I can’t say I’m crazy about them. I get along with them, but there are things about them that leave me feeling uncomfortable. Most notably, the negative things they say about other people. How other people infuriate them, or how people make their lives more difficult. Sometimes they speak condescendingly to people, and other times their limited and rapidly diminishing patience with others manifests with what feels to me like a deficit of compassion.
But as I said, it bothers me.
I mentioned this to Jacque, and she tells me I don’t necessarily have to like these people.
Unfortunately, this is where I become one of the little figures in the Escher drawing of the stairway that ascends/descends perpetually, in a loop. I dislike the behavior in others that shows a dislike for others. Sounds hypocritical? That’s what bothers me.
It is said that people are a reflection of ourselves, that how we react to people is a dead-on indication as to how we feel about ourselves. Every time we express our dissatisfaction with another human being, it’s like pointing to a diagram of the human body in a doctor’s office, except instead of a human figure it’s a picture of all the people I know or encounter in my daily life. The doctor says “Show me on this diagram precisely where you don’t like who you are…” and I say “right here…” and I point to one of the people I’m not comfortable with.
Is it difficult for me to deal with these people being so impatient and critical with others because they represent the part of me that is impatient and critical with the people in question? Do I dislike that part of myself? Yes, yes I do.
The loop is formed because I want people to share in my tolerance, but I have little tolerance for those that don’t. I have little tolerance for that part of myself. If I accept my own intolerances, I accept intolerance? Where did I even come up with this rule that everyone has to tolerate everyone else all the time? More so, that I have to tolerate everyone all the time?
Once I learn to tolerate myself, the intolerance of others will fade naturally. I will embrace my own spiny exterior. I will march forward through this life leaving a trail of trial and error, letting my insecurities take flight in the form of crows to clean up the crumbs of my challenges, to remove the carrion of my own self-doubt that has exhausted its usefulness. I will thrust my hand in the jar of mistakes and pull the next one out, I will spread it on the ground and revel in my imperfect perfection, then I will wash it away and stand naked in all my humanity.