As I composed the post I found that forming an action plan wasn't what was bothering me. I feel comfortable that I know (most of the time) when to speak up and when to just move forward, that I (most of the time) have the courage to do so. small, everyday conflict I'm okay with. It's the tolerance bit I (and society, apparently) find tricky.
What was baffling me was why is it so hard to accept another person's worldview that is different than your own. I'm not even talking about accepting the troublesome worldview AS your own, but accepting that it EXISTS and not being hateful or resentful about that fact. I turn the problem over and over in my head, and mostly what I think of is bonobos.
Bonobos, the a little known great ape that provides science a ripe opportunity to study the biological basis for tolerance. For more information, read this book, because the author explains it far better than I can:
I am also reminded of this little story:
“An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…..He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil – he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth,compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
His grandchildren thought about this for a minute, and then one child asked, “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?“
The old Cherokee replied softly, “The one you feed.”