Live and Let Live…requires Tolerance

live and let live

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One of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is to think that somehow, someone else’s actions and thoughts affect you.  This lesson is spelled out beautiful throughout the text the Four Agreements — Agreement number two specifically, which states Don’t Take Anything Personally:

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

This concept is harder to apply when dealing with closer relationships, like friends, family and spouses.  When trying to incorporate the four agreements in my life, I found that when I came to this one, I needed to take another approach.  It was hard to not take something my mother said to me personally, or to let my best friend continue to behave in such a way that I felt was detrimental to her well being.  That is when i came across the “Golden Rule” — or a form of the golden rule rather,  it says:

When we live and let live, we don’t need to criticize, judge, or condemn others. We have no need to control them or try and make them conform to our way of thinking. We let others live their own lives and we live ours.

Live and let live is one of the keys to peace in our lives. When we practice tolerance in our lives we are liberated to work on our own issues. When we use this slogan we end many of the conflicts in our lives and gain the ability to stop new ones before they build into big ones.

I realized the key ingredient I was missing in this equation, was tolerance.  We  must exercise a certain amount of tolerance for differences that exist among us.  I needed to understand the decisions I make, my behaviors and morals — are all a result of my journey.  My journey is no better than your journey, and my pace may not necessarily be your pace.

What my best friend needed was love and support, not judgement.  She needed room to experience on her own.  By no means would I let her fall off the deep end, but I definitely needed to give her room to make her own decisions, independent of my opinions.  My love for her and wanting her to be ok, was more of a hindrance to our relationship than a help.  What I needed to realize about my mother and our relationship was the same thing, I needed her practice tolerance with me.  Tolerance is not 100% Laissez Faire – we are not required to accept, embrace, or even be silent about what we perceive to be evil, but it is a combination of understanding, patience and compassion.