Friday, April 6, 2012

How tolerant are you?

My son and I were having a conversation the other evening about the difference between tolerance and acceptance. It was something I had never given a thought to. My goal has always been to get through the day or situation without hurting anyones feelings. In fact, the older I get the harder it has become.  Tolerating people or viewpoints that I disagree with can be very difficult but we are all grown up right? So we can get through a cocktail hour without a knock down and drag out. I know we can. We can tolerate each other for a little while.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, 

people will forget what you did,  
but people will never
 forget how you made them feel.
Still, the concept of acceptance is totally different. It closes the door on the effort to change another's opinions. There is no right and wrong. There is only an accepted contrast of opinions. Have you ever thought about that?  It can also help us grow and learn.  Accepting our short coming or age or even how successful we are can help us move on and become better...just plain better.

In a political year with incidents like Trayvon Martin's murder looming over our country and political parties biting at each other's heals, it is hard for those of us that stand on the sideline to understand how there is ever going to be a meeting of the minds.  Images on the internet and news push us to agree with this one or that one.  We are incited to rhetoric that is offensive and mean. But those reasonable, educated and experienced men and women in the political arena usually meet each other and debate with civility. I think there was a time when they could even sit down and compromise.  I often wondered how they did that.  Could it be that they had gone past tolerance to acceptance?  Maybe they can discuss, disagree and but know that the other person will give a little but will not change their mind.

Different personalities, age, religion, politics, gender, race or even style of dress should never be a stumbling block to civility and even friendship. We all know that diversity is what makes this country tick. Without acceptance it would have never worked. So, it seems to me that tolerance is not enough...acceptance should be our goal. What do you think?

Just a thought


Tags: tolerance, diversity, intolerance


  1. I completely agree. In fact, you and I wrote almost the same blog post! While I think it is generally bad form to plug my own blog on someone else's blog, I hope you will excuse me for including the link here to my post in case you want to take a look.

  2. Okay, I have to ask why the caution against Korean, Hundi (Hindi?), Japanese, and Thai! Were you getting a lot of spam in those languages? (Other than Thai, I would not even recognize the others!)

  3. Reading this brought to mind a conversation I had some years ago with a very odd fellow in West Texas. Nice people there but lthere is lots of oddness brewing just under the surface of those smiles. I was trying to explain how I could be tolerant of someone (or the views, etc.) and still not respect them. Which of course I believe that it is entirely possible to be accepting of someone without actually respecting them. I've found that as the years roll by I've become quite accepting of many things while the bar for respecting them continues to be raised. One thing that seems to stand out for me is that most people who tout their tolerance of others wouldn't touch my thoughts here with a ten foot pole. They tend to be very angry people - but very adept at hiding it well . They talk about love, peace and diversity while being the first in line when in comes time ot start throwing the stones. Well, back to sipping my whiskey and enjoying the show from here.

  4. Galen Pearl, It is never bad form to link on this website if you have something to add to the conversation. I like when people do that.

    As for the warning about Hindi, etc, yes, I did get a lot of spam in language I did not understand. They would post the messages on older posts so Blogger did not notify me when the comment came in. I may have been passing secret enemy messages and didn't even know it? It has not happened in a while so maybe I can take that down. I just had forgotten that it was even there. Thank you for the reminder.

    Have a wonderful day.


  5. Blue know you have a very good point. I had not even thought about respect. In your world of business interactions you come into contact with people that are very adept at hiding their true feelings. The truth will slip out at the strangest times. Like you, my bar for respect gets higher and higher.

    On the other hand, we have family and friends that hold opinions that we just cannot respect yet we may be able to accept. Their life experience has led them in different directions. Hopefully, being around me (smile) will help them see that everything is not about anger and race. It helps to be well informed, listen to arguments we disagree with and see the big picture. Sometimes I need that whiskey more than others.

    My take away from life is "The less I know the stronger my opinions!" That generally slows me down.

    Thank you for adding to the conversation.


  6. Yes, in some situations and maybe many acceptance is a good thing but if you it is a 100% thing then you are standing on sand. There would be no foundation for your life. For instance I will never accept that the pedophile just loves children or that someone has a right to kill someone else for any reason. I will never accept a totally selfish person who never looks beyond himself.

    Lets not give up all our principles just to get along. Some things matter.....

  7. RJ, I really do not feel quick sand under my feet so I must be okay. My moral compass is intact and I think that helps.

    Crime is something that needs to be judged and punished in a court of law and there will always be humans that are so damaged that they cannot be fixed. The pedophiles and murderers do not come into play in my life.

    As for the totally selfish person I have a situation that requires that I tolerate, accept and love a person that is truly totally selfish. It is a learning experience.

    The philosophical question here is where do we draw the line in the sand. Do we draw it at the crime committing human or do we move further up the list to persons that do not agree with our opinions or are simply wired differently.

    In my article I was speaking more in terms of philosophical and cultural differences. But more specifically I was speaking for those people that play a real part in our daily lives.

    Thank you for your input. This is food for thought. I know there is a paper written by a man with cerebral palsy that was brought home at birth rather than committed to a care facility. He now lectures at Harvard on this very subject. I will post the link for his thought when I have ferreted it out.


  8. Good stuff - I find myself in the being tolerant seat when dealing with my parents. When it comes to politics we have learned to agree to not agree. Neither they nor I will likely change our views at this stage so rather than debate (aka battle) we abstain from discussion. We love each other and respect each other and have learned to tolerate our differences. :)

  9. David I think you have it figured out. We practice what we preach closest to home. Our family discovered early on that politics and religion make very poor dinner conversation.


  10. I think there is a place for tolerance, in accepting other people for who they are. And there is also a place for sticking to good standards, ie. not to tolerate bad behaviour, crime, sin, etc - especially when these qualities are in one's self.


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