4 Tips for Building Tolerance for Others

How do you start a discussion about the topic of “tolerance for others”? With the ever-increasing mixing of peoples and ideas in the world, the complexity associated with tolerance for others has increased exponentially and will continue to do so. 

There are so many individuals (or even group) perceptions, so many definitions, and so many points of view to take into account. In short, it’s a complicated construct to approach—one that could be viewed in a manner that would be acceptable to everyone. 

Many sociologists or other theorists have their own ideas regarding “tolerance.” For instance, WikiHow (https://www.wikihow.com/be-tolerant-of-others) offers its “11 Ways” to consider. Chopra (https://chopra.com/articles/8-tips-to-build-tolerance-in-your-life) offers an additional “8 Tips.” To be sure, there is a plethora of advisories you can search for, and they all offer points worthy of reflection. 

However, as a simple writer, I tend to prefer a simple solution, with as few essentials to remember as practical, but still communicating the overall thought. Thus, and to support my militancy in favor of simplicity, I’ve chosen to draw your attention to a solution offered by Eugene Therapy (Oregon Online Counselling).

Eugene Therapy’s (https://eugenetherapy.com/article/4-tips-for-building-tolerance-for-others) “4 Tips for Building Tolerance for Others” seem to be a comprehensive enough, but easily remembered, template for dealing with human situations in which we may have never had an opportunity to experience. Tolerance is a skill that can be learned, managed, and built upon over time. Dispelling prejudices and opening your reach as a human being are bits that YOU can control! Sometimes it’s not easy. We tend to default to our own experiences, but can we come to accept that other people’s backgrounds and opinions are as relevant as ours? Well, let’s see how you accept the following four suggestions as ideas that might inform your thoughts: 

  1. Own Your Present Feelings and Manage Their Evolution: Yes, you are a product (victim?) of your own totality of experience until now, but you can take control of it from now on. Who manages your eventual thoughts? You do! As Eugene Therapy states directly, you must “recognize that no one can make you feel a certain way without your permission.” YOU have the power to change your worldview. People of different cultures, for instance, may tend to (legitimately) see the world in a way that is a bit divergent from yours. This is not necessarily threatening, and it’s not so much that they’re trying to oppose you. It might be, simply, that their backgrounds find it difficult to understand your view. In many cases, it’s simply a matter of different understanding, not animosity. 
  1. Are You the Curious Type? Yes, you are who and what you are, but don’t you have a sense of curiosity about the world around you? Are you interested in other people, other ideas, other ways of looking at problems, other ways of solving problems? And I haven’t even mentioned other cultural, religious, economic, and other myriad components we could take into account. Do you have an open mind? Or are you satisfied with what you already know about other people? Pity to you if you are among the latter and not the former. We can indeed learn from others. Are you satisfied living in a world only about four centimeters wide, or are you open to the world—curious about the wonders around you? The choice is yours. 
  1. Learn to Sympathize: Sometimes we choose to be indifferent to, or even offended by, other people simply because we cannot (or will not) try to see the other person’s point of view. People are all different because we come from different backgrounds, defined by our varying totalities of experience. For example, you may ask yourself: “Are these people being deliberately rude to me, or are they simply responding in accordance with their own, learned culture contexts?” Do you at least try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective, or do you default to your own sense of self? The former can lead to more positive human interaction, whereas the latter can leave you and your interlocutors in a state of distrust and possible conflict. 
  1. Practice Respect: Eugene Therapy states directly: “When you don’t agree with another person’s opinion, focus on respecting their right to think for themselves and to believe what they choose.” This does not mean you must agree with the other person on a given issue, but it does suggest that your personal ethic regarding interpersonal relationships should include a sense that others may disagree with you, not just for the sake of being disagreeable, but for their own, legitimate reasons. Yes, keep your own sense of self, but remember that the other person has a sense of self, as well. Respect tends to be a reciprocal process: The more you give it, the more you tend to get it back.  

Eugene Therapy offers that “as you work to develop greater tolerance in your own life, you’ll find that you are happier, more at peace with yourself and those around you, and have a greater appreciation for diversity.” Building tolerance is not only possible but can be pursued without extraordinary discomfort. Other sources offer their own, equally valid perspectives and methodologies, but the four tips outlined above are simple and easy to remember. Hopefully, they can contribute to your personal plan of tolerance development. 

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