31 Days of Soul Searching – Day 14 {Tolerance}

Day 14

Every New Year’s I wish for two things for myself in the coming year… patience and tolerance.

{Tolerance} is the “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own” according to Webster. And it is my soul searching tidbit for today.

I can recognize in myself moments of intolerance. What I’m not quite able to recognize is how to effectively overcome that lack of tolerance.

I am very tolerant of differing religious beliefs. Completely understanding of cultural differences. And I can even embrace varied political views. It is not those topics that challenge my tolerance.

Well, what then?

Differences in parenting styles, as evidenced in Wal-Mart most days. Patterns of self-destructive behavior that I can see in others when they can’t seem to see it in themselves. Even simple things like an obvious lack of ambition frustrates me.

Why do I care?

Honestly, I am not sure. I like to think it is out of a desire to be the best or do the right thing. Idealism over realism. But what I find is that my intolerance in these situations isn’t making any positive changes. My disapproval just simmers inside bringing out my passive aggressive tendencies.

A snappish comment, a dirty look… BAM! Take that.

Nobody benefits from that.

I have such a strong moral compass and it guides my decisions in life, but apparently I want it to guide yours as well. Futile and unhealthy.

So how can I change my feelings in those situations and become more tolerant?

Since I keep wishing for tolerance, I have clearly not yet figured out the answer to this question. What I think is important though, is for me to embrace diversity and open my mind.

I won’t tolerate seriously unacceptable behaviors, like breaking laws. I refuse to compromise my values and will stand up for what I believe in.

But I do want to learn to look past the behaviors that challenge my tolerance and see the person behind them. Have they ever learned a different way or are they just doing as they have been taught. I think that is the case more often than not.

I’m not entirely sure what my role is with increasing tolerance, but it seems clear that I cannot change anyone’s behaviors. And who’s to say that my way is the right way anyway? But I can support education and awareness in areas that would help our society. And I can learn to ask “why” instead of just being frustrated, choosing curiosity over judgement. That may just open my eyes to a new way of thinking.

Just as I am a product of my upbringing and my environment, so is everyone around me. They may do things differently and that needs to be okay with me. They are fully free to live their lives how they choose to, even if I don’t agree.

It is not my job to judge anyone. It is my job to love everyone.

Tolerance. Acceptance. Love.


*This is the 14th post in a 31 day series on Soul Searching. To follow the series from the beginning, simply click here and you will be directed to the introductory post which contains links to each day’s topic.


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