Op Ed . . . Tolerance

By Lindy Earl

I do not understand people who think their opinions should be shared by everyone else.  Isn’t that what gives us the joy of differences?  I’m not talking politics or religion here, just daily preferences.

For instance, people who love coconut, which I detest, have tried for years to get me to consume what I consider a vile substance.  “You haven’t tried MY coconut cake,” they say, as though their recipe is going to somehow change my 50 year dislike of a substance.  This is why I have found it easier to pretend to be allergic to coconut, since my polite refusal and a “No, thank you,” have often proven insufficient.  Before I drank coffee I often found that substance pushed upon me.  Why did these people find it necessary to push their preferences on me? Even worse, why did they look down on me when I didn’t share their opinion?

It’s not just food, either.  Don’t take offense, here, but animal lovers top the list of people who, I have often observed, condescend to those who don’t share their passion.  I think it’s wonderful if they choose to spend their time and effort helping unfortunate pets, but please don’t draft me into your cause, don’t try to make me feel guilty for not joining, and don’t look down at me and shake your head because I don’t share this passion with you.

It seems everyone has one or more passions in life.  In my professional life it’s Marketing and Scripture.  On a more personal life it’s Live Sports and crafts.  Unlikely combination, huh?  While I love attending live sporting events, I do not expect everyone in the world to share my interest.  In fact, I’m rather grateful that everyone doesn’t, because the parking would be that much worse and the ticket prices that much higher. And, while I am eager to attend any football or baseball game, I do not share the love of games like golf and soccer.  So I’m a selective sports fan.  That’s okay!  These are MY preferences.  You can have your own. A good friend of mine was once a College Basketball Coach. We get along anyway.

I’ve found musical people are another group who believe everyone should share their passion.  I once heard a music pastor speak to a group of women (not being religious or sexist here, just factual), and say that all children should start music lessons by the age of five.  I asked him, if he were a chef, would he expect and encourage parents to put their children in (age appropriate) cooking lessons at five years old.  The question stunned him.  I have yet to receive an answer. It opened his eyes to the reality that what was important in HIS world may or may not be important to every person in the world.

One way I have learned to deal with people when they push their interests on me is to offer to trade.  I tell them I will sing with them if they will allow me to teach them how to knit.  They look at me as if I’m a little loony and stutter, “I don’t want to learn how to knit.”  Exactly.  I don’t want to sing yet for some reason I’m expected to do so. And I’m expected to join the rage that is coffee drinkers.  And I’m expected to support pet adoption on a monthly basis.  All this would take away from my interests and I wouldn’t be the person I am.

I think we should all enjoy our talents, hobbies, and passions.  I believe we should be willing to educate, train, and share our knowledge with other interested persons.  I think we should accept that our individual preferences are exactly that – individual and preferences.  So please don’t look down on me because saving a puppy isn’t at the top of my list of concerns, or because I am not interested in a $9 cup of coffee, or whatever you find important in your world.  We can still have a great friendship, relationship, and colleague-ship without supporting every cause and wish of one another.

Yes, I realize this blog may come across a bit passionately.  Writing is another one of my passions – but it doesn’t have to be one of yours.

          Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.

*Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com to have her Speak or Consultant at your organization.

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http://www.lindyspeaks.com/Products.html for $8.00 (half off Amazon’s price).

1 Comment

  1. I can’t believe that people are pushing these things on you. It seems like you’re more offended than they ever were. I’ve had people try and get me to try a lot of stuff I don’t like, but I have never been offfended by it. I love music, but only music lovers understand other Music lovers. I have never questioned anyone who didn’t love music. I love dogs and I work in rescue, but I would never try to make someone love a dog and take it for a few days and maybe they would like the dog.
    If this is a problem for you, I think it says more about you than anyone else. Sorry, it’s just my opinion, but I just don’t get it.

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