I Struggle With Tolerating Intolerance (ironic, Isn't It?)

I am a very tolerant person.  I see the differences between people and things as something to be embraced.  Life would be so uninteresting if people didn't follow different religions or lifestyles, or if there was only one type of music or literature.  You are who your are, you do what you do and you think what you think because it was meant to be, as far as I'm concerned.

My hypocracy comes when I must encounter someone who is intolerent.  While I understand that religion, life experiences and upbringing have much to do with why people may not tolerate those around them who may be different in a certain way, it is still completely alien to me.  I find that the reason I tolerate and accept so much is because I can find some way to understand whatever it is I am encountering. But when I encounter someone who is intolerant of someone because of their religion, sexual identity, ethnicity or any other differences, I am immediatly filled with the belief that I am better than they are because I can accept those people for who they are. 

In a way, I suppose, I become just as bad.

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9 Responses Dec 27, 2009

I've always loved the lines - Before you criticize someone you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.<br />
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We need all the cards in a deck to make a complete pack. We need all the people too.

… what I find most frustrating is not the intolerance, it self. It’s the fact that you can’t even discus a different point of view with out having an aggressive response.

I think intolerance is based in fear. Fear of the other, fear of being overwhelmed by the change that the other represents to the intolerant one. I find my self becoming uncomfortable when the people or place looks too different from what I'm used to, and if I've chosen the to go to the new place I'm less upset than if I'm lost and suddenly find my self in a strange-looking place surrounded by people who do not look, act, dress, like me. Choice is huge here. And how we react depends on many things. When I'm down, tired or cranky...guess what, I'm less tolerant than usual. If I'm happy, life is going well, I can be very-very tolerant. So, think fear response the next time someone seems intolerant, see if that helps.

I so know where you are coming from, its ironic.

I totally agree with you Scaredoutofmind.

I know exactly how you feel...<br />
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I'm not self centered but sometime I can't help it but think to myself...<br />
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Sometimes maybe it's just really hard to be intelligent/ Aware.<br />
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Being this way is good cause we can tolerate other peoples ignorance and stupidity for the reasons you say: Finding a way to understand..<br />
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But maybe being this way can be bad... because, we understand certain perspectives<br />
that we do not necessarily wish to accept but do anyway... because we just wish to understand and seek knowledge even in the hardest of places.<br />
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That's pretty much how i'd relate my relevant experiences to what you have wrote

I've been attempting to understand my intolerance of intolerance. <br />
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I feel I'm able to 'put someone else's shoes on' and look at things from another point of view. I accept that we're all different, making different choices, living a different experience for this day, month, lifetime. <br />
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Yet I'm frustrated when others don't try a similar approach so I'm just one big contradiction.

I struggle with this sometimes also. But something that has helped me is the realization that, as Bloopurple said, we all have our own paths to walk. Of course no one is better or worse than anyone else, but we are all at different areas on our paths. Thinking back to years ago myself, I was not as tolerant as I am now. Maybe it is that even the most intolerant person will eventually become much more tolerant and they just haven't gotten to that point yet. Time is an illusion anyway, so I always try to remember the potential that they have and it helps me to be more tolerant to them. I hope this helps. :)

I struggle with this myself. I believe that people can change and with that in mind, I believe that I need to live the best I can, to show others through example. This does not mean I think that I am better than anyone else. Everyone has their own path to walk. Just as I look at others and the way they live their life as a clue to how I might live my life in an area that I struggle with, they may do the same with me. I know through my travels in life I am the only one that I can change, and that proves sometimes to be difficult.