Another Look At The Meaning Of Tolerance

What does “tolerance” mean to you?

I know the word is not new to you as people frequently use it. What I don’t know is how much of its real meaning you have understood and applied in your own sphere of influence.

You may probably have been tempted to think that tolerance strictly means to put up with something or someone with very nasty, horrible, terrible or poignant attributes. Not really!

Please take a good look at the definition below and compare it with what you already know about the meaning of the word:

Tolerance:

“Willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own.”

 

I don’t know about you, but the definition above opened up an entirely new vista to me, of which I am glad.

It shows for instance that tolerance doesn’t say we should put up with evil or bad things or bad people. But it clearly portrays “willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from [our] own.”

Now let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of the said definition:

• Willingness to accept…
• Behaviour and beliefs…
• Different from your own…

Tolerance would be required wherever there are inter-human relationships because you will always meet people whose behaviour and beliefs are different from yours.

That’s why tolerance may also be understood as “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence or opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

That means you can disagree with someone without going to war with him or her.

It means you should have an open mind towards someone even when he or she has an opinion that is completely different from yours.

Due to a number of varied factors such as genetic make-up, family background, religion, education, geography, exposure, life experiences etc, all of us believe different things and behave differently from one another.

That means that at any point in time in your chequered life, you will always see people who behave or believe differently from you; whose opinions about issues are not like yours. 

The question would then be, “how would you deal with such people?”

group of people standing on dock beside body of water

In order to coexist harmoniously with such people, you should be willing to tolerate them if you cannot change them.

Talking about changing people, experience has shown that many people are aware that some other people do not share their opinions, behaviour or beliefs.

But some times, they are unwilling to accept such other people who do not share their outlook. This is often the beginning of unnecessary conflicts in human interactions.

However, you may only try to effect some changes on peoples’ behaviour or beliefs if possible to suite yours; but you shouldn’t try to use force.

By the way, you can’t change anyone who doesn’t really want to be changed. You can only influence such person.

When it comes to changing someone’s behaviour or beliefs, influence should be the operating word, not force.

Otherwise, you must bring to bare the willingness to accept their behaviour and beliefs which you perceive to be different from your own and which you cannot change.

That, my friend, is the real meaning of tolerance.

Bear in mind that tolerance is a seed; as you sow it, you will reap the sweet harvest.

Don’t you realise that other people would have to tolerate you too?

I believe you know that not all your opinions, behaviour and beliefs are acceptable to everyone you come in contact with!

Although, I cannot guarantee it, other people too ought to be willing to accept your opinions, behaviour and beliefs which are different from their own. That is if they know what it means to practice tolerance.

There is no worthwhile relationships with people that do notnot requ tolerance in between.

Like all good habits, tolerance doesn’t just happen to us; it has to be cultivated deliberately and ‘open-heartedly’.

It is very important to cultivate it because you will need it if you desire to build a meaningful, harmonious and long-lasting relationship of any kind.

Here are a few areas where we can apply the principle of tolerance:

At home, between spouses , amongst siblings or other family members;
At work, between you and your boss, colleagues or direct reports;
In your neighbourhood, amongst co-tenants, etc
Amongst your friends, classmates in schools etc
In churches, with members and leaders alike;
In other organisations /relationships, etc

In fact, anywhere you come in contact with humans, tolerance is needed. As you well know, no body is perfect.

People are different. You are not everyone and everyone is not you. Therefore, there will always be differences in opinion, behaviour and beliefs between you and others.

There would be conflicts all the time in all kinds of human relationships if the principle of tolerance is not imbibed.

The extent to which you realise this differences and how well you are willing to accept and manage them depict your level of tolerance at any given period.

What does tolerance mean to you? Let’s hear from you in the comment section.

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Previously published on this blog in 2015 as “What tolerance really means.”

3 Kinds of Communication That Destroy Marriages

Silence communication, negative Communication and Inadequate Communication.

Good communication is a vital ingredient in building a happy and healthy marriage. Without it, unhappiness and conflict in the home will be a common experience.

As someone said, communication is the lifeblood of any marriage. But it must added that such communication has to be positive, constructive and productive.

Truth be told, some communications can drain the life out of any healthy relationship. In this post, we will examine some forms of such communication that are not so healthy to engage in marriage.

If good communication improves the health of marriage, then obviously, bad communication destroys it. Nothing less than wholesome, intentional, positive and productive communication should be promoted within a loving marriage relationship.

All the same, there are spouses who may be inadvertently  involved in improper communications with each other. It is my belief that being aware of these kinds of communication that destroy marriages will help you not to engage in them so that the happiness and health of your marriage will be protected.

To that extent, I present to you 3 kinds of communication that may destroy your marriage, with the hope that you will learn not to engage in them:

  • Silence communication
  • Inadequatee communication
  • Negative communication

Let us now take a closer​ look at each of the stated types of communications:

1. Silence communication

On the surface, it would appear that “silence communication” as being used here is an oxymoron, contradicting in terms. But it is not – especially if you think of it in terms of nonverbal communications.

Silence in itself is not the total absence of communication. But it is a form of communication as well.

Through the use of words, you do communicate in any relationship. But you can sometimes do the same without necessarily using words – by the use of silence. That’s why they say, for instance, that “silence means consent.”

In marriage however, silence may not always mean consent, pleasure or happiness; it can mean discontentment, unhappiness, disapproval, indifference, ignorance, bruised ego, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, displeasure, concealed anger, etc.

But the fact still remains that even when you keep silent, you are still communicating something. The question then will be whether or not your silence is serving the proper purpose.

Sadly, “silence communication” can result in miscommunication and misunderstanding.

3 types of Communication that destroy Marriage

It is true that silence may be desirable at times, especially when you need to douse some apparent tensions. But do not allow prolonged silence communication to fester between you and your spouse, neither should you subject your partner to the so-called “silent treatment.” Such will not augur well for the health of your beautiful marriage.

Whenever you notice unwholesome silence communication in your relationship, be the one to break the ice  (in a positive way). This is because continuous silence communication between you and your spouse will have a negative effect on the health of your marriage. Therefore, use “silence communication” wisely.

2. Inadequate communications

Understand that inadequate communication is poor communication whether in marriage or outside of it. Poor communication will in turn result in poor understanding and ultimately in conflict and misunderstanding. And persistent conflict between you and your spouse is not good for the health of your marriage.

Have you ever felt that your partner is not open to discussing​ all issues with you? Or you know he or she is deliberately withholding vital information from you? If your answer is yes,  then you may be experiencing inadequate communication in your marriage.

It is also inadequate communication if your spouse can use more information than you are willing and open to communicate with him or her. What that means is that you are withholding information from your partner without his or her consent. And that’s not right. If your spouse is the one withholding information from you, it is also not right.

More often than not, inadequate communication can result in serious misunderstanding​ between you both, and consequently to unhealthy conflict that puts the union at risk.

In marriage you should be free to talk about anything and everything with your spouse. Such communication should be proactive, intentional, regular and adequate.

3. Negative communication

Ever heard​ the saying that “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing?” That shows that it may be more beneficial sometimes to maintain silence than to say unpalatable things – to your spouse, for example.

Well, while not encouraging silence communication in marriage, it is better to avoid negative communication all together. Negative communications will produce negative effects.

Negative communication such as uncomplimentary remarks about your spouse and unending doses of unconstructive criticisms will not improve the good-health of your marriage. Your spouse may feel disrespected or unvalued if your communication always come across to them as negative. On the other hand, you will come across as caring, loving, friendly and considerate if your communications are always positive.

If you communicate negatively with your spouse long enough, he or she will begin to resent you, leading to emotional disconnection between you both. There is no future for any marriage where the partners do not share a strong intimate emotional bonding.

We will then conclude that silence communication is not good. Inadequate communication is not good enough. And negative communication is not good at all.

Your marriage will be negatively affected if you engage in any of the above communications long enough. Therefore, it is better to avoid these kinds of communication that destroy marriages.

What other kinds of communications do you think can destroy a marriage?


©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne