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.”

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7 Benefits Of Reading Other People’s Blogs

Why you should read blogs

The whole experience of blogging is not about you churning out posts after posts for people to read, to like, to comment on and to share. It is also about you reading other people’s blogs and interacting with them as much as you can.

There are many benefits you will derive by reading other people’s logs. In this post, I will highlight seven of such benefits.

7 Benefits of reading other people’s blogs


1. You learn from other people

People share ideas, experiences and insights on their blogs. They do so not for self-amusement but for you to read them. You will learn as you read those sites.

As one of my readers once stated, “What I love about blogging is taking the time to read other people’s thoughts about faith stuff as its important to get perspectives different from my own.”

Every opportunity you have to read is an opportunity to learn something new or remind you of something’s you have forgotten.

Be honest with yourself for once: you don’t know everything. That’s why you should read what other people have written on their blogs so that you can know what they know.

2. You discover new blogs to follow.

People follow your blog and you should follow other people’s blogs too. Reading other blogs will help you determine whether or not to  follow such blogs.

There are many reasons I may not have followed some blogs. But reading other people’s blogs helps me to discover suitable ones to follow.

Although there were some blogs I followed at first sight (especially the ones recommended to me), my guiding principle is that I would need to read two or three posts on any blog before I make the affirmative decision to hit the follow-button.

3. You sharpen your writing skills.

Writers do not only write, they read a lot as well. By extension, as a blogger, in addition to updating your own blog, you should also read blogs other than yours and learn from the writing styles employed by the authors of such blogs.

Personally, I learn a lot from reading other people’s posts. Just like many WordPress users, I did not attend any training on blogging before I got started. Everything I know, I have learnt from reading what other people have written and putting them into practice.

getting people to read your blog

4. You attract more followers to your blog.

“One good turn deserves another” they say. If you want people to read your posts, you too should read other people’s posts.

There is a great chance that if you add value to a blog as you read it – by leaving a comment for instance – you are likely to attract more followers to your own blog.

5. Opportunity to interact with fellow bloggers.

For you to comment on a post, you have to read it first. I would expect that you don’t want to comment on a post you haven’t read.

Essentially, a post is someone’s idea or opinion about something, somebody or some place. Your comment on the post will be your own response to it.

You could also respond to other people’s comments on the post, thereby expanding the sphere of interactions.

6. Community, fellowship and friendship.

As you interact with other bloggers, you form a kind of bond and friendship that might prove valuable to you. Some of your online or blogging friends may eventually turn into your friends in real life.

And when someone becomes your real life friend, the opportunities become limitless. I shared my little experience in this regard when I published From a blog friend to a real life friend.

7. Source of blog ideas

Apart from the new things you learn by reading other blogs, you might also receive inspiration for new posts on your blog. I have experienced this several times.

As I read other people’s blogs, there seems to be a spark of inspiration that comes from it. And I have developed many of such thoughts into full-fledged posts on this blog.


What other benefits do you get from reading blogs other than yours? Leave a comment.


© Copyright 2018| Victor Uyanwanne

Have You Ever Written An Open Letter?

Have you ever written an open letter about anything to anybody or group of people? If your answer is “yes” I would be glad to have you share your experience with us here. But if your answer is “no,” I will suggest you give it a try. The experience may be worthwhile for you.

As I read the first epistle of Peter recently, I came to realise something I considered new to me: Peter wrote the letter to people he had never met before:

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 1Peter 1:1.

Although Peter stated the locations of the target àudience of his letter, the fact that he called them strangers indicates that he had no previous personal acquaintances with them. Yet he had to write to them to pass across the messages he had for them. In a sense, you can say that Peter wrote those people an open letter.

Have you ever felt that you have something to say to somebody, some group of people, an advice to give, a commendation to offer, a correction or rebuke to hand down, but never got to do it till now? Is there a silent issue you want to draw public attention to?

Whatever you know you could tell someone if given the opportunity, but the opportunity never came, (and you want public awareness on that issue?) you can pass the same message across via an open letter. You will be shocked to know that the message will get across faster than you ever imagined.

In the context of this discussion, you do not have to worry if your open letter does not get published in mainstream media. Your WordPress account is a sufficient platform for you to publish it. So publish it on your blog.

I can recall trying out something like that here on this blog. There was a time I began to feel that I had a message for atheists – those who do not believe that God exists. The message was nothing new really except that I put the words together after an innocous realisation that I had never physically met an atheist before.

God loves everybody including Atheists

Our experiences may differ; I grew up in an environment where everyone believes – mentally at least – that God exists. Therefore, for me and many other people then, it had never been a question of whether God exists or not. We all agreed that God exists; we only differed on the approach to Him.

However, as I began to face the larger world, it baffled me to hear some people claim that they do not believe God exists. They deny any and everything that suggest the possibility of the existence of God.

Therefore, in my own little attempt to reachout to the unknown atheists, I published the post, To those who say there is no God. The response was relatively massive, affording me the opportunity of having some online engagements with many of the atheists that responded.

Even though I could not force anyone to believe in God, the fact that my message got across to the target audience was very fulfilling to me. So in expanding the discussion, I followed up with 16 sobering things every atheist should know. That post too was very successful, further deepening my online conversations with the atheists.

Why don’t you try something similar?

Identify a specific group of people you have never met before to whom you feel you have a word for. Through the avenue of an open letter, send them your words of encouragement, hope, rebuke or advice as the case may be.

If you have an issue you feel you have a strong position for, to which you would like to draw public attention to, why don’t you air your view via an open letter? I assure you it will not go unnoticed.

Let the conversation begin…

Still Ahead: 20 Idea Topics for Open Letters.

P.S. If you decide to write an open letter following this post, kindly link to it to enable me and other readers join in the Conversations on your blog too.


©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne