tolerance and how to live it without compromise

Funny how many people talk about tolerance yet few seem to live it. I have no idea how many times people have become angry with me for having an opinion…and usually they only get upset when my opinion differs from theirs. Odd that when we all agree, they don’t get upset. Mmm, tolerance is sadly lacking.
I am very clear about my belief system, my values and my lifestyle choices. Some would say I am “black and white” in my thinking. However, among my vast array of friends are people with many belief systems, differing values and completely left-of-field lifestyle choices. Why do these people all call me “friend”? Not because I waver and agree with them, being completely spineless and unclear about who I am, no. These vast variety of people call me a friend because they know that I respect them, I value them, and I am not afraid to disagree with them.
I do not believe tolerance is saying there is no absolute truth, or that we all agree all the time. I believe tolerance is about respecting that others are entitled to their opinions, while being able to clearly define that our own are different. I believe tolerance is about valuing people for their intrinsic worth rather than their belief system.
If you want to live with compromise, then you need to clearly define your values. Without this, tolerance will be somewhat of a nonsense. Unless you are clear on your own values, you struggle to appreciate the values of others. So, start with yourself, do some reflection, some introspection and some decision making. Clarify, evaluate, think….
In order to live in a world of tolerance the next step is to allow others to express their values. I would say to do so without judgement, but that is not real or true. For, if you are clear about your values and committed to them, then they are necessarily right. This means that when others hold different values, you must conclude that they are wrong. I think the secret to tolerance is to be able to hold onto your beliefs and allow them to make those decisions for themselves – even if what they choose is what you consider to be wrong. For me, tolerance is allowing others the freedom and respect to make their own choices, even when (or especially when) I disagree. Tolerance is loving the person, even when I do not agree with them.
What do you think about tolerance? Come, talk it over, share your thoughts.

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