Monday, January 30, 2012

Tolerance (or, "Sweet Baby Jesus, I Blogged!")

It’s been too long since I have made use of my blog. Not that I expect anyone to care or even to read this, but putting my thoughts in words, in front of my own eyes, has always provided clarification for me, made my thoughts more sensible and clear in my own eyes. I express myself best this way, out of the often-muddledness that can be my head. And yes, indeed, I make up my own words too: “muddledness.” I like it, and it fits.

Something has been on my mind the past few days.  The word “tolerance” and what it means to me.  It can be a confusing word, and as positive as I hold it to be, I can understand how some could attach negative connotations to what it is and means.

What does “tolerance” mean to you?

I can’t pretend to know what it means to you or to anyone else, but I can define very clearly what it means to me. “Tolerance,” simply put, means live and let live. It means I don’t know what it is to walk in your shoes, so I will leave you to the task of making it work the best way you see fit.

“Tolerance” means believing that we were not put on this Earth under the intention to all be one and the same, all cut from the same pattern; rather we are all unique, all made exactly as we were intended to be, and I am not the person who should judge who you are.

“Tolerance” means morality is something personal and unique to all of us and while mine is held closely to my heart, I cannot expect it to mean the same to you, just as yours may not mean the same to me.

“Tolerance” is remembering I do not hold the only key to how life should be lived, only how mine should be lived. 

“Tolerance” is having love in my heart for all who seek to live their life to the fullest, live to their fullest potential, who struggle and strive to live as who they are, where they are, the best that they possibly can.

“Tolerance” does not mean I have to agree with your every opinion, only that I have to respect it as yours.

“Tolerance” does not mean I overlook your faults, only that I do not judge lest you judge me for mine. 

“Tolerance” does not mean I am without my own moral code, only that I cannot even begin to pretend to know yours, and leaving you to your own values does not mean mine somehow get lost.

I think it is too easy to forget that not everyone walks the same path I travel each day. The choices I make in my life are the direct result of that path, a true relationship of cause-and-effect.  How can I know the path you travel? How can I know what hidden causes led to your effects that I do plainly see?  It is true that we often choose friends and relationships based on similar beliefs, opinions, moralities, etc., as those are the people with whom we have the most in common, but that does not mean I don’t see there is a flipside to every coin, and heads or tails, every coin still has a value all its own.

I guess it all comes back to this: “do not judge, lest I be judged.”

This is “tolerance” to me.  This is why I hold this word dear to my heart.  I don’t have to believe that your way is my way; only that your way is right for you.


  1. I'm so glad to see you writing again. You did a great job explaining what tolerance means to you and truly, you are the one that matters.
    I do think you are, for whatever reason or definition you have, one of the most tolerant people that I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.