Presently, the United States is a nation of surreal paradox.
On the one hand, you have some of the finest tech and scientific minds you can imagine. On the other hand, you have people who think the Earth is flat and vaccines cause autism or implant microchips. Some schools teach robotics and advanced math while others teach creationism and refuse to acknowledge ongoing racism in the country.
It is very hard not to see people lacking reason, logic, and understanding — and not be frustrated by them. Spend 5 minutes scrolling through Facebook or Twitter and they’ll be on display.
I am fortunate. My family is liberal and believes in science, medicine, reason, kindness, compassion, and logic. Some of my friends are less fortunate. They contend with alt-right conservatives, religious zealots, anti-vaxxers, and liberal haters among their loved ones.
It’s hard enough to suffer fools you don’t know and never will. I can’t imagine how hard it must be when they’re relatives.
What’s more, in many cases there is not a damned thing you can do about them. During the 2016 election, I had a discussion with a coworker utterly convinced about the efficacy of Trump’s border wall. He spouted all the platitudes — it’ll stop the illegals coming across, stop the drugs being trafficked, and so on.
I offered to show him a dozen legitimate sources of proof he was wrong. He would have none of it. Worst of all, he was part of a majority in that particular workplace.
When you must, how DO you suffer fools? Like everything in life, there are options.
But first, an important truism.
You can control only you
You have control over nobody and nothing but yourself. To best exercise that control you practice mindfulness.
You are the only one inside your head, heart, and soul. Nobody else is in there — no matter how much they try, or you let their ideas/beliefs/values in. You’re it.
Practicing mindfulness gives you the power to be in complete control over yourself. This requires conscious awareness, here and now, of your inner being — your mindset/headspace/psyche self.
That conscious awareness comes from your sensory input (i.e. your six senses) and your conscious, in-the-now awareness of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions.
When you know your inner being you gain access to your subconscious. That, then, opens you to assume control over your beliefs, habits, and values therein. When you gain that access and control, you become more capable of choosing and deciding how your life is to be.
You have control over yourself.
No matter how much you want to help those who are stuck in a reality that lacks logic, reason, kindness, compassion, and truth — you can’t. You can show them their errors, explain reason and logic — but you can’t change them. They will only change when and if they so choose.
But walking your own path, being mindful, and practicing conscious reality creation makes you a beacon of reason, hope, and light in the wake of fear, uncertainty, and darkness. Being on your own path and making choices and decisions for your life is the best way to suffer fools without letting them drive you mad.
That said, there are additional options you can use to suffer fools without making yourself crazed.
The options to suffer fools
The following are, in my experience, the options available to you and me for suffering fools. Please keep in mind that these will be colored by your perspective and perception of reality, how you see life, the Universe, and everything, and your experiences.
These are, of course, not the only options. But in my experience, they are the primary options available. Additionally, it’s possible to use them in combination or start with one and shift to another.
The important thing to take away from this idea is that you have choices for how to suffer fools — or not.
Ignore them — don’t engage
Self-explanatory — but if you’re like me, this feels disingenuous.
I am, by my nature, a teacher. Whether it’s medieval rapier combat, heralding a court, conscious reality creation, mindfulness, or writing tips and ideas — I love to expand the knowledge of others.
When you see willful ignorance, counterfactualism, unkindness, and similar surreal beliefs expressed — you want to help them see how they’re mistaken.
But unless they are obviously willing to learn, you can teach them nothing.
Take what they say and do — and ignore them. Don’t engage, walk away, just leave them be and remember you are not them.
This can be hard to do. You feel almost a physical need to show them the error of their beliefs. But it’s not going to be to any avail. Don’t waste your time and energy. Take a deep breath, let it out, walk away, and don’t engage.
Ignore them — but engage
Like the above, you ignore them. But not without at least a parting shot to let them know why you are ignoring them.
And I mean a parting shot. Don’t argue, don’t get into it — let them know you’re not going to engage — but you have an opinion and they need to be made aware of it.
For example, a friend of mine recently expressed their unwillingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to a major phobia of needles. Sure, I acknowledge that. However, I have another friend who has the worst needle phobia I’ve ever seen. And they have gotten both shots and fully vaccinated. Friend ‘A’ is making excuses — and when I called them out, they told me to drop it.
As a parting shot, I said “you do you — but we’ll not see one another in person anytime soon. Unless you get vaccinated.”
Ignoring and walking away with that one shot is a relief for you — but doesn’t engage a pointless, losing argument.
Engage them (suffer fools)
I do not recommend this at all. You will be frustrated, annoyed, and angry. When you suffer fools by engaging them you only hurt yourself.
So how do you get them to change their ways and see reason and logic?
Be the best you that you can be.
When you are being authentic, genuine, kind, compassionate, empathetic, and mindful — it shows. People take note that you’re balanced, centered, and in a good place. They see you consciously creating your reality. In time, they might want to know how you’re doing it.
By taking control of yourself, your paths, and your life — you become a trailblazer. People apt to follow the lead of others will be inclined to follow your way. Then, and only then, you may have an opportunity to help them see logic, reason, and be open to change.
There is one last option when it comes to needing to suffer fools.
Cut them off/cut them out of your life
This is a more drastic step than ignoring them. It requires you to cut the thread, end ties that bind and be flat-out done with them.
You unfriend them on Facebook, avoid them, and don’t engage in any way, shape, or form. Cut them out of your life and let them continue on their way — away from and without you.
The primary reason to do this is for the sake of your mental health and wellbeing. A lot of the things people in opposition and unwilling to engage in a logical discussion do is cause distress. Being hammered by opinions without logic, seeing a blatant lack of kindness and compassion, being called names, or having aspects of your beliefs insulted unreasonably takes a toll.
This might hurt. It may be hard to tell someone you love to fuck off. But if they are hurting you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually — or causing harm in any way — you have the right to free yourself of them.
We have a finite time in these bodies during this life. Suffering fools and being in pain because of it does more harm than good. Thus, sometimes the better part of valor is to cut them out/cut them off from your life and proceed without that poisoning.
I want to address one more super-important element when it comes to how you suffer fools.
Forgive yourself when you are the fool
Everyone will go through a crisis of conscience from time to time. You might learn a long-held belief or value lacked logic and reason. When all is said and done YOU may have been the fool being suffered.
It happens. Congratulations, you’re human. Now that you have come to this new place, applied logic and reason to remove/replace/alter a belief, value, or habit — forgive yourself.
We all make mistakes. Everyone holds onto a “truth” for a long time that turns out to be bullshit. That’s part of everyone’s life experience. When you see this, and you choose to change — forgive yourself for what you did.
I am not saying forget, neglect, or ignore it. Learn your lesson, keep mindful so you don’t repeat it. But forgive yourself for the error of your ways.
I believe a lot of why we see so much fear, uncertainty, and suffering in the world is less about forgiving others their wrongs — and more about forgiving ourselves. We are all perfectly imperfect. And when you recognize and acknowledge this, you can forgive yourself for that.
I, for one, don’t suffer fools easily
But neither will I waste my energy trying to show logic or reason to someone with blinders on.
Instead, I will work on myself. I will strive to walk the paths of my choosing. I’ll work on being the best, most genuine, authentic me that I can be.
You have the same options when it comes to how you suffer fools. The choices and decisions belong to you and you alone. Recognize them, acknowledge them, then choose and decide what option suits you, your mental health, and overall wellbeing best.
You are worthy and deserving of not having to deal with pointless, infuriating conflicts in your life. See where you stand, be the best you that you can be, and choose and decide for yourself.
How do you suffer fools in this topsy-turvy world?
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, the philosophy of choosing and walking your path, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://titaniumdon.com on May 5, 2021.