author: Angela Maddalena

Author’s suggestion for you, dear reader: I wrote this listening to the song “up the bracket”, by the Libertines. My advice is to put it in your playlist and give it a try, while reading me, for a more “sensorial” sensation!

In occasion of the International Day of Tolerance, i wanted to give my contribution in the only way i can: writing something.

In the first moment, I thought to write something about good feelings and improvement of our skills in the tolerance field.

But, you know, this is the kind of thing you will always find everywhere in occasions like this. Is something that we were told about since first day in kindergarten. So, i decided not to bother my “audience” to death keeping on repeating the same things they have listened to since they were six.

I decided to write this article in a different perspective, namely my own.

Because I’m the thing that i know better, still I’m not sure that i know myself.

So, I have been asking myself: Am I tolerant?

Because I’m not sure about it.

As I started to work in the Open Space Foundation, in the field of No Hate Movement, I also started to ask myself quite often if I am the right person to be in this position, to speak about how much the world would be better if only we people start to show one to the other a more wide and open tolerance and to spread love.

But, really, am I the right one to talk people about this?

Because, with the new work I’m doing in Sofia, with the new life, new question arose about myself too.

I’m here, speaking a new language, living with new people coming from very different environment and previous lives, working in a totally new situation.  Tolerance is not only something useful, it happens to be mandatory.

Still, not every bright thing is made in gold.

There are problems coming up almost every moment.

In my previous life, in Italy, my reaction to problematic situations, to unpleasant moments, even to misunderstandings, used to be fight.

I’ve always been a fighter. All my life, I have been using my pretty fine ability with words to win verbal fights and even to “force” people my way. Because it was the more natural answer I was able to give to stressful or hard moments.

Here, I’m trying very hard to stop a moment before explosion, and ask myself: am I being tolerant? Was I tolerant?

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror of my mind, and I find nothing good to tell myself. Because I never have been tolerant with myself too.

So, now, I’m asking you: do you find in yourself the strength you need to be tolerant? do you really try to be, with yourselves, firstly, and with the others?

Because, you know, it is not a natural habit. It is something we need to be teached to do. Nobody teached me, I’m trying to learn alone.

I was told to be smart, not patient. I was told to be straightforward, not cuddling. I was told to be strong, not inclusive. And yes, they said to me the 17st century mantra “I don’t agree with you, but I will fight for your rights to speak your mind”.

Still, I learn this the same way people usually quote the Bible or Machiavelli: is not something I ever took as an actual way in life.

I’m slowly trying.

This is a new lesson, out of my comfort zone, and is hard one and painful also, sometimes.

 but I can feel something slowly changing in me and it gives me hope.

Because now, when I look at my face, in that cracked mirror I hold in my mind, I’m able to smile to myself.

Am I tolerant? Not yet, no: I’m learning.

Are you tolerant?


The “Angie’s Blog” is a rubric led by Angela Maddalena (Italy)

and is part of the project “Freedom of (Hate) Speech“.
It is funded under European program “Erasmus+”,
KA 1: European Voluntary Service and Training Course for Youth Workers.

National Agenda for Bulgaria: Center for Human Resource Development