Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tolerance vs. Acceptance

I was inspired by a fantastic video I saw on this topic, so this idea isn't mine, but I loved it so much that I've tried to make it a permanent change in my vocabulary. And if I find the clip I will attach it or link to it.   

There's something that bothers me about the word "tolerance" when it is applied to people's spiritual choices. If you tolerate something, you put up with it. Think about it: If you said to your significant other, "Hey...I tolerate you!" would you consider that a compliment? I'm thinking no. I know it wouldn't be if someone said it to me. 

So when I hear someone say "teach tolerance", it's not an uplifting message, in my opinion. What you're saying to children is, "Hey, you don't have to like those people. Just don't be outwardly mean to them, even though they are different from us and obviously more stupid because they aren't like us. But we've gotta act like they're OK, even though we know different." 

I've replaced "tolerance" with "acceptance" as much as I can in my vocabulary these days. We should accept people as they are. With acceptance of homosexuality thankfully becoming the norm these days, I'm surprised it's not spilling over into everything. But I figure people may feel uncomfortable giving up all their biases at once. 

If you're not a particular spiritual path, you don't have to become something you're not to accept someone else's choices. You just have to put your ego aside and accept them. The bottom line: Other are not stupid because they don't believe the same things as you. 

If you feel the need to judge other people's spiritual choices, then you're in for a world of hurt when you realize that other people have different needs than you do.

I know this is a message you've heard from me before, but based on some of what I have been seeing or hearing recently, this is a good one to repeat. Being able to accept the spiritual choices of others without judging them for it shows your true character. If you choose to judge, I guess that shows your true character, too, doesn't it? 


  1. I TRY to accept all, but I must admit republican Christian men in particular I "KINDA" tolerate! lolol it's hard to accept people who'd like to see me dead and burning in hell! I do however agree with you point totally I myself admittedly am a work in progress. I strive to practice the art of gentle blessing when others or myself anger. that too is a work in progress but happily I can say I'm much more accepting than I was even 5 years ago!