We often think tolerance is a one-sided coin. How much more loving and better the world be if we saw it as a two-sided coin.
We think people should be tolerant of us – our beliefs, our time, our quirks, and our opinions. Other people need to accept my schedule, my ideas, my space and even my mistakes. Others need to accommodate. When we think of tolerance, we rarely think that it only works when it is shown by all. I need to be just as tolerant as I want others to be of me. What would happen if we began to think of tolerance as something that we too had to show and exhibit? Tolerance and acceptance go together.
Respecting Names, Accepting Others
I have a diverse group of friends and I want to be respectful of their names. Names are so personal. I love it when someone calls me by my name. It says so much. It says that:
They remember me and my name.
They care enough to use my name.
They are speaking directly to me.
I haven’t always been the best with names. I used to excuse it by saying, “I am not good with names” and just expect others to tolerate my shortcomings. I decided that I want to stop making excuses for not showing others the respect of using their name properly.
Avoidance of saying their name seemed reasonable until one day you have to say it and you can’t. Then what? I need to take the time to ask, as uncomfortable as it is, “How do you pronounce your name? “May I try it, and will you please help me if I say it incorrectly? I really want to say it correctly and honor you.”
The first time I tried this, it felt awkward at first. I said, “Thank you for correcting me,” which was the wrong thing to do and probably made her feel not so great, but she practiced tolerance. She gave me grace.
This allowed me to have some confidence when I had to do it again, and this time, I said, “Thank you for helping me say it correctly. That was really important.” That was so much better. Had the first tolerant soul not shown me tolerance, I wouldn’t have gotten better. Now, I feel great about opening up to more people, asking more and learning more.
“Politically Correct” Language
Language changes so quickly in all spaces and everyone gets so offended when we don’t use the right language. Yet, when we ask directly, everyone seems to show tolerance and is thankful that we took the time to learn.
Lesson for me, ask directly. People want to be included and no one wants the awkwardness of being excluded because we are uncomfortable.
Don’t get offended when the right language isn’t used. We may know the language in our space, but the “correct” language changes all the time. Assume people mean the best when the wrong language is used, unless it is hate speech and then that is never okay.
Show Others the Same Tolerance We Want to be Given
I find that I am more tolerant when I am rested, fed and happy. It is on us (no one else) to care for ourselves in order for us to give the best version of our selves to the world. Our best selves want connection and kindness, I truly believe that. In a world that is fast, angry, and so crazy – be the difference. Be tolerant.