*A few years ago I had an intense conversation with a family member whom I love dearly. We didn’t see eye to eye on a particular topic. Simply put, our philosophies were different. In response to our disagreement this person said to me, “you don’t accept me, you tolerate me.”
That comment really struck a nerve in me because I pride myself on accepting people for who they are, even when they are different from me. Since that day, I have taken some time to reflect upon our conversation to learn more about “tolerance and indifferences.” The following is a definition I found on “tolerance.”
“Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference.”
I am convinced that most of the world’s issues stem from intolerance. Wars, hate crimes, racial slurs and attacks, all stem from intolerance…which are all grounded in fear. Intolerance of differences always exists in people who don’t know who they are and they don’t have a strong sense of their own authentic self.
I am amazed at how many religious people operate in intolerance. They not only live from that space, they also teach it. But true followers of a Loving God will always live from a space of love. Jesus did as an example to us all.
God is love and God never requires that we disregard people because they are different from us. This really should be a reason to reach out and love them even the more. While you and I may not always see eye to eye on many things and we may have different beliefs and philosophies, there are still many reasons why I can, should and will love you. I don’t have to believe, think or live as you, in order to love you.
Once I came to understand this philosophy, it changed my view on how I treat those who believe differently from me. Love really does cover a multitude of sins. We miss so much good in others because we only see what is different.
So the next time you encounter someone who is different, try to look for what is good and treat them as such. Spend more time enjoying the things that you do agree upon instead of focusing on the things or philosophy that you don’t. And if you do happen upon an issue or topic that you don’t see eye to eye on….just practice a little tolerance. It really isn’t all that bad.
Angela Carr Patterson is a Lifestyle Coach, Author and Transformational Speaker. She is the founder of The Love Lifestyle Center, www.thelovelifestylecenter.com and The Love Story Women Circle www.lovestorywomencircle.com , an online global community of women seeking to embrace love, celebration and transformation in their lives. Their goal is to reach one million women through the internet. Contact via [email protected]