Tolerance isn’t easy. Because we rely so heavily on our own experiences and worldview, it can be hard to see things from another person’s perspective or accept that someone else’s viewpoint may be equally valid with ours. But tolerance is a skill that can bring greater peace and harmony to our lives and the lives of others. Here are 4 tips for building tolerance for others.
Take Ownership of Your Feelings
Recognize that no one can make you feel a certain way without your permission. If you’re feeling angry, hurt, or upset, know that you have the power to change your emotions. Move from an attitude of “this person upset me” to “I’m feeling upset because of something this person said or did, but I don’t have to stay that way. I have the power to choose my reactions.”
In many cases, when we lack tolerance towards others it’s simply because we don’t understand them. By cultivating an open mind, learning about other cultures and people, and broadening our horizons, we increase our ability to understand and accept others.
Change Your Perspective
Sometimes hurt feelings or a lack of tolerance come about because we can’t see where the other person is coming from. You may not be able to fully understand another person’s experiences, but you can shift your perspective from yourself, (“I can’t believe that person was so rude to me”) to them and how you can relate (“Maybe they’re having a hard time right now. I know I sometimes say things I don’t mean when life is getting me down.”)
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. Just as we would never want that right taken away from us, we have a responsibility to extend that same courtesy to other people and treat others with respect, even when we disagree with them.
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 for others is a lifelong pursuit that will continue to empower and bring healing—both to you, and to the society in which you live.