I had an epiphany a few weeks back.
I saw a post someone wrote querying why pregnant women get special treatment. She said pregnancy was not an ailment and that women did not need to get ahead in queues or have special allowances simply because they were pregnant. It did not stop there, she used herself as an example of how pregnant women should be. She had 3 children and pregnancy had never impeded anything she was doing.
My first emotion was anger. I was angry at what I termed as ignorance. Women die giving birth. Pregnancy is such an unpredictable journey and individuals walk through it as their bodies permit. Some have hyperemesis like Princess Kate and even require hospitalisation. Some have incompetent cervix and need to be on bed rest. Some have gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, some have PUPP, some inexplicable experience threatened miscarriages. Some women swell, some have back aches and some experience morning sickness all day throughout the pregnancy. Pregnancy is customised for each individual and it is something one has little control over. Some women sail through it and others struggle through it.
So, the lady in question did not struggle with her pregnancies. But she made a cardinal mistake we all do. She viewed a situation in its entirety through her personal experience. She spoke from the vantage of her strength and was completely blind to any nuance.
“If I experience this thing this way that what excuse do other people have not to experience the same thing the way I did?”
We tend to analyse situations through our strengths, our proclivities and based on our experiences. For these situations, people who are unable to react or handle things the way we are, we automatically tag as weak or foolish or idiotic. Our personal logic becomes a template that people should replicate or risk our scorn.
This is probably why there will never be world peace.
We insist too much that people think and behave the way we think and behave. When they think differently, we are unable to accept that people born under different situations and experienced things differently than we did are equally worthy of consideration and our understanding.
I am baffled by the fact that thinkers and so called intellectuals are a lot of times not fluid thinkers. There is an arrogance and a need to always be right that interferes and they are blind to this.
It is important to understand that people will never experience life in the exact same way. Even if they did, they would not react the same way to these experiences.
The beginning of tolerance starts with being slow to judge people. The next thing is to be able to co-exist with people completely different from who we are and treating them decently like one human should treat another human. Even when we do not understand their backstories we know all we need to know to treat them like people…because they are people.
I know a lady that has built a large followership on the back of her perfection. Every single thing she says starts with how fantastic she is. How she has gotten everything right and how no one is right unless they live like she does. While some of the things she says are inspiring, the refusal to bend her mind to allow for imperfection or even complete understanding makes her very intolerant.
Making the world a better place seems impossible but embracing the fact that people will always be different is a step in the right direction.