bias

365 Challenge: Day 103 – Tolerant

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Tolerant: showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with

tolerant

I do not like the word tolerant. It is clinical. Institutional. Incendiary. It annoys me to accept we need to have a word like tolerant in order to do what should just be the innate and natural thing we all want to do. To have to tell someone or teach someone to be tolerant [of differences] is just an unacceptable truth, as well as one of the areas of life that truly frustrates me. Not because I don’t believe in it, but because there are people in this world who think they are so perfect that any difference is wrong — and that it has become our responsibility to have to educate them to be tolerant.

No, I’m not going to rant on about injustice or inequality. I’m simply making a small statement that while being tolerant is absolutely the right thing to do, it concerns me that we need a word for doing the right thing. I’m not an activist. I am not political. I don’t push my beliefs and thoughts on other people. I just live and breathe each day in the way in which I feel is proper and fair. I’m sure you’ve previously noticed this approach of mine when I’ve posted about being non-judgmental or open-minded. But today, I felt the need to use the word tolerant, as that was the concept being thrown around last night at an event I attended.

A very good friend of mine invited me to the NYC Mayor’s PRIDE month reception at Gracie Mansion last evening. My partner and I eagerly accepted the invitation and explored the wonderful grounds and buildings where our mayor lives. Both the mayor and his wife spoke about how amazing NYC is when it comes to being tolerant and accepting of people’s differences. And then they invited a special guest to the stage: Laverne Cox. For those who don’t know who Laverne is, you can find out more here. As a quick intro, she’s a transgender pioneer who moved from Alabama to NYC where she was able to become who she was inside, as well as a star on the TV show “Orange is the New Black.” She’s also the first Black Transgender Woman to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine. Enough Said.

As I wandered around the party last night, then chatted with friends at dinner, and ultimately when I woke up this morning, this concept of being tolerant has been front and center on my mind. I am not a religious person, but I was raised Catholic and went to church for nearly twenty years. I have little desire (other than to correct wrongs) to get involved in heated political discussions or banter over what’s right and what’s wrong. To me, there’s a simple fact when it comes to… ugh… hate saying it this way… being tolerant of others:

“Your life is none of my business. If you are not hurting me or someone else, you are free to do whatever you want.”

It’s simple. It’s direct. It’s not about religion or hate. It simply means… embrace who you are, do what you want to do and don’t harm others. For anyone to have the audacity to claim otherwise is selfish and uneducated. And to think you can tell someone else what is right or wrong makes no sense. None of us created the concept of life. None of us have the answers or explanations. None of us are inside someone else’s head. We have absolutely no idea what makes another person who they are. Yes, we have science and history and analysis. I believe in all of it. But I also believe that there is something unique to each of us, and that tiny little thing is enough to tell me that I cannot judge another person when I am not that person. What’s right for you is what’s right for you.

We each have our life and own responsibilities and should focus on those things — not whether someone feels more like a man or a woman, or both… loves a man or a woman, or both… wants to change their gender… is more attracted to a certain look about someone else… feels more comfortable using a specific restroom… If I’m gonna use the bathroom… seriously… I’m going in there for ONE PURPOSE… to get it over and done with as quickly as possible… not to engage with anyone else while in there… I will wash my hands and leave… and then it’s out of my mind. I don’t care who else is in there with me. That’s certainly not my first priority. And why would it be anyone else’s?

I really am not ranting. I’m attempting to just be honest and funny. And I’m fairly certain 99% of the people reading this post, i.e. following me, you probably feel the same way. And if you don’t, and I’ve offended you, I certainly didn’t intend to and I accept any consequences. All I can say is that I tolerate your inability to be a more open-minded person and wish you well in your own journey. But for those of us who read this, believe this or preach this… being tolerant, that is, I’m glad to be part of your life.

And so… Happy PRIDE. Happy June. Happy Friday. Happy Everything… because we have one single life that we know of… and I’m not gonna spend it worrying about what other people think or do with their own life. I’ve got better things to do… like read and blog. And make a fool of myself in this 365 Daily Challenge — among other things! Unplanned RANT done. Back to reality. Ah…

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 34 – Judgmental

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Judgmental: having or displaying an excessively critical point of view

Today is gonna be a tough one… while I will be honest in everything I include in my post, I wonder (now as I begin writing this) how much I will actually reveal versus holding back any thoughts. I know I shouldn’t hold back, but conveying what one means without looking like a jerk, in a small amount of words on these posts, is difficult.

Judgmental could mean biased. Judgmental could mean racist. Judgmental could mean critical. In sticking with the definition I first found when I went to Google, I will address my nature to be critical… perhaps excessively critical… when it comes to standards. While I am very impartial when it comes to listening and hearing people out before I make decisions, there is a part of me that is very judgmental when it comes to comparing someone else to myself. And to be honest, it is probably my absolute worst characteristic.

Ever since I was a small boy, I have had incredibly high standards for most things in my life. I’ve also allowed those expectations and standards to be applied to the people in my life, whether you are a close friend or family member, a colleague, or someone new I meet. Having high standards is a good thing most of the time. But unfortunately, I often set the standard so high that few, if any, can meet it. And we all know that leads to disappointment… and judgment. My philosophy had always been you should do what I want and I should do what you want. Whaaaat??????

Over the years, I’ve whittled down this trait; however, many years ago, as the perfectionist I was (am?), I felt I could do no wrong and I was the best. I was not my school’s valedictorian. I did not win major awards. So Captain Obvious should have known better. But when it came to behaviors… to being fair, kind, consistent, thoughtful, orderly, structured, engaged… I always thought I knew best. And I wouldn’t stop there. In my head, never outwardly to someone, I’d silently judge others for not living up to those high standards and expectations. My thought pattern: “If I can do it this way, and I know better, so should you.” What an A$$hole I could be!

I’d like to say it was in the vain of wanting people to be the best, and maybe it is now; however, in the past, a small part of me was happy to know that I did something better and that I had achieved a higher sphere of thinking. Sick, I know. I’d slap myself for you, if I could. But in my defense, I really tried to do the right thing and be as good as I could be, and I also wanted everyone else to be that way, too. It wasn’t purely a negative aspect… I was critical because I cared enough to want things to be right. Or “right” as in how I saw them. Wasn’t always reality.

It certainly made things difficult for me. Relationships ended. Or never began. I’d meet someone, start talking, (s)he’d say something I thought was wrong and I was done. I’d judged the person over minutia.

Perhaps he said he didn’t like mystery books. Or she said she’d never go to Hawaii. Silly little things, snap judgment on my part… and I’d move on. And in a relationship, if the other person didn’t have an equal level of contribution, or perhaps dated more people in the past than I had… I was super critical over the whole thing. Few could meet my standards.

My mother called me out for this a lot. She’d tell me I’d end up alone if I couldn’t learn to be tolerant and forgive. If I couldn’t be more open-minded about people’s different ways of doing things. She’d throw 1 or 2 things at me that I’d done incredibly wrong or when I’d been foolish… helping me realize I wasn’t all that perfect.

As the years have gone by, I am a lot less judgmental. But there’s still part of me that will have an immediate reaction to something, and because it’s different than what I believe or know, I am critical and judgmental of them or the situation. Admitting it has been good for me. Recognizing my faults has been helpful. Growing older can make you less sensitive over these things. In the end, I leave this post with one thought for which I could be judged.

Despite everything I’m saying and that I’ve learned, I am still judgmental over certain things. And as hard as I’ve controlled my thoughts and reactions, keeping them internal now, I am still embarrassed over it. But I am smart enough to know it is a small piece of who I am, and over time, it becomes less and less. Yet even more importantly, I am not a hypocrite — as there is no one I am more critical over than myself. And since I fairly dish out that judgment equally to myself and others, perhaps it’s not so bad if I hold myself to the same standards as I hold everyone else:

“Be good people. Do unto others as you would want done on to you. Apply the Golden Rule.”

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

365 Challenge: Day 31 – Impartial

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Impartial: treating all rivals or disputants equally; fair and just

At a quick glance, is there any reason for someone not to be impartial? Isn’t fair and just the right way to live, part of the American Constitution (for international readers, I’m sure there is something a bit similar for you, but not always, I suppose…)?

It’s often hard for people to be impartial. We have favorites. We have anger. We have revenge. We have loopholes. We have a very disparate set of rules that vary from person to person, family to family, house to house, city to city, state to state and country to country. But for most of us, it’s what we strive to accomplish in all that we do. I’m sure there are moments when we wish for someone to win, maybe talk up someone more than another person in the hopes they get the job, boyfriend, girlfriend, house, car, etc.

In today’s post, I will discuss being impartial when it comes to my immediate responses to things, people or situations. I’m not focusing on when people are judgmental, racist or biased. I’m looking at pure state of mind without seeing the specific decision in front of them.

For example, can you walk into a situation without pre-conceived notions about how you will react? If two people are fighting, and you know one of them, do you automatically decide whether they are guilty or not guilty based on past experiences with them? Or can you forget everything you know, starting from scratch, listen to both sides and weigh in with an impartial mind? If you hear that someone likely hurt another person, do you immediately think the person is guilty, or do you want to hear his/her side of the story before determining your reaction?

For me, I battle these thoughts all the time. No matter how confident I feel in a decision, there is always a lingering “what if” in my mind… and I can never 100% commit to a feeling or thought. Sometimes it’s a big enough concern that I tell whomever I’m discussing it with what the lingering concern is and why… other times, it’s trivial enough that I don’t feel the need to explain why there’s a bit of doubt.

Regardless, being impartial should be an automatic given for all of us. No matter the situation, we should have the ability to look at the entire end-to-end picture, big and small, and then come to a reasonable conclusion. Sometimes, it’s simple and you can take turns, alternate or split something so that it ends up being equal. Often, it’s not and you have to communicate and share your thoughts so that the full exposure can occur.

I would have made a good mediator. I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. I hope to understand why they chose to do something, not just think about the impact it had on me. I believe in fairness and equality. My mind doesn’t think of other ways. If there are two people and two of something, each gets one. If the two objects are not of the same size, then I look for ways to make it as fair as possible. If two people have a story, but differ on the details, I need to hear both and then work with them to see if they can figure out why they each saw it differently.

If one child typically is the poorly behaved one, and an incident occurs with another kid, I wouldn’t assume it was the poorly behaved one. Nothing is that obvious. That said… you can have an opinion, a bias, a judgment, but shouldn’t we do our best to ignore those in the beginning and try to be as impartial as possible? If there’s minimal time, yes, an educated guess or prior research would come into play… but when there’s available time and opportunity, use it wisely. Be impartial.

I feel preachy today. Perhaps I’m annoyed about some things I listened to on the news while having lunch. Or maybe I have such a hard time understanding people who aren’t impartial, it’s fueling my words today.

I think what I’m most trying to say about myself here… and the way I believe people should be… is that we should always have an open-mind. Try not to be judgmental (and just wait… that’s going to be the topic in a few days… and I have been known to be judgmental!). We should never have a boundary that prevents us from considering the alternative. Never may be a harsh word. Some laws and rules should not be broken. There’s a set of standards we should all follow. This isn’t about religion or politics or spirituality. It’s about recognizing as people, we’re evolved enough to know better.

When my time’s up, the biggest hope I could have is that I know I always did my best to listen and consider things outside of my own opinion. I may still choose my original thought, or to believe I am the correct one… but it’s my responsibility to be impartial and look beyond the limitations of my own knowledge. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way over the years.

Rant done. Thanks for not hanging up!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.