The dictionary definition of tolerance is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. This means accepting other people’s points of view and their behavior, even if it contradicts what you believe in. You do not have to endorse their view or change your views to match theirs. Nor do you have to hide your views – being a tolerant person is all about accepting differences. 

What makes somebody a tolerant person? 

Simply put, a tolerant person accepts those around them regardless of their differences. They are patient and refrain from judging others based on their views, sex, sexuality, gender, religion, or race. They will listen to other peoples’ perspectives, no matter how different they are from their own, and will strive to accommodate people in their life/business. This might mean ensuring there’s a prayer room, providing flexible working hours, or ensuring they don’t discuss sensitive or conflicting matters (i.e., discussing computers or cars with a member of the Amish community). 

What are the benefits of being tolerant? 

There is a range of benefits for you, others, and even the community that come from being tolerant. Accepting those around you is a great and simple way to help improve yourself, your outlook, and your life. 

  1. Practicing tolerance helps to provide learning opportunities 

By allowing other people to enter your life whose behaviors and beliefs don’t align with yours you are welcoming the chance to learn about their ideas. Whether these ideas are new to you or are simply ideas that you have been socially conditioned to reject, learning about them may provide you with a new level of understanding. 

You will be able to better comprehend different political standpoints, and may even get the chance to introduce yourself to new cultures. Learning new things is a great way to exercise your brain and help to maintain neurological health, and learning from people is a great way to make those different from you feel safe and understood. 

  1. Tolerance creates unity

Not only does tolerance give you the chance to learn, but it actually helps you to make a difference. By learning to accept those around you and listening to their points of view, understanding the way their lives work, you automatically create a safer space for them, and vice versa. Once we understand the views of others, we instantly become more empathetic towards them. The more and more we learn to tolerate those different from us, the more open-minded we become, and the more of a community we help to build.  

This open-mindedness is a step toward cooperation and unity, which can benefit your local and international community. By working together, we can help one another with issues. Whether it is something as small as helping an elderly woman with her chores or something as big as helping to support one another’s rights – unity holds us together and helps us. 

  1. Accepting others helps to reduce the negativity in your life 

If you instantly judge, blame or dislike every person you meet whose beliefs, race or sexuality don’t align with yours, you are setting yourself up for a life full of negativity. Each person you meet and subconsciously decide to hate is more negativity and resentment in your life. The more resentment and negativity you hold on to, the more negative a person you will find yourself becoming. Negativity can also cause long-term mental health problems, which can really impact your life and livelihood. 

Alternatively, by being a more tolerant person and accepting those around you for who they are rather than judging them, you can welcome positivity into your life. You will be much less concerned with others and may even find that your outlook on life changes as a whole! 

  1. Being tolerant allows you to make more connections and relationships 

Think about all the people in your life that you have met and instantly dismissed due to your differing beliefs or behaviors. Now imagine how useful those people might have been, or how good they could have been as friends. By practicing tolerance, you get the opportunity to meet more people, learn from them, and make more connections. Whether those connections are temporary, permanent, corporate, or friendly – they will all benefit your life in some way

Give yourself the chance to make new friends, network, and meet new people by not instantly judging or dismissing anyone based on preconceptions you might have. 

How to be tolerant

Being tolerant comes naturally to some people, and they likely do not have to think twice about it. But if you find yourself struggling with tolerance then you might need to work on your tolerance a little bit. To learn tolerance, you should: 

  • Practice patience 
  • Understand that some people’s beliefs are socially influenced/conditioned
  • Remove any preconceptions or stereotypes you might hold about those different from you
  • Acknowledge that sometimes differing points of view mean you won’t get on with someone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be civil with them 

By making these four small changes to your mentality, you can vastly improve your life, and outlook and make new friends in exciting new places. We should all strive to be more tolerant people and to understand those who are different from us in order to best work together and help one another.

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