We are often told to become more tolerant.
Tolerance is sometimes even looked upon as a virtue.
But the mere definition of tolerance points to the problem with tolerance.
Look at this definition found on google : the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.
Being tolerant means we will continue to dislike the other.
Of course we’ll put up with the other and we’ll try to live our lives without being too affected by the other.
But will we embrace the other and recognize their humanity?
Will we reach out?
Will we SEE the other?
No. We don’t need more tolerance.
We need more compassion and understanding and inclusion.
Our world is becoming more divided and extremist.
How does this happen?
By spending more and more time with like-minded people.
Think about this. The more time you spend with like-minded people, the more you believe that your way is the right way, the correct way, the only way. This leads to closed-mindedness.
For people like me, a natural introvert, being with like-minded people is comfortable, and where I like to be.
But what I have realized is that the deeper conversations I have, with people from other walks of life, grow my compassion, my understanding and my empathy.
- Talk to a prisoner about their childhood.
- Talk to a drug addict about their shame.
- Talk to a student about the obstacles they have to overcome to get to their goals.
- Talk to a cashier about the abuse customers give them.
- Talk to a teenager about the difference they want to make in the world.
- Talk to a security guard about the boredom they endure.
- Talk to a CEO about the stress they endure.
- Talk to a mother about her dreams for her children.
- Talk to people that you tolerate.
Let’s stop being tolerant.
Lets start being compassionate.
Let’s start conversing with unlike-minded people.
Lets embrace the humanity in all of us.
If you want others to be happy,
If you want to be happy,