Sometimes when people hear the word “Tolerance”, they equate it with the word acceptance, saying things like, “If we tolerate some things, then what else are we to tolerate/accept”. Yet the character trait of Tolerance means “realizing that everyone is at varying levels of character development”. Where one may be working on being Tolerant, another may already have no qualms in embracing Tolerance wholeheartedly. Being totally devoid of prejudice is not where everyone is at in their lives. They may have embraced the character trait of Prejudice; and therefore, exhibiting bias and close-mindedness concerning others. John F. Kennedy once said that “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others”.
Although everyone you meet may have strengths in other character traits, displaying Tolerance shows open-mindedness towards others’ state of being at any given moment. When I first started my Bachelor’s degree, there were those who judged me purely because of who I hung out with and how I spoke. It was highly difficult to not strike back with my words. Instead, I decided to show Tolerance toward them, knowing that actions speak louder than words. Eventually, my tormentors became my friends, simply because I had Tolerance as a strong trait in my personal arsenal of character traits. Dr. Seuss said that “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Make a point of cultivating Tolerance and steering yourself in the direction of patience for where others are in their development of their character traits. Having Tolerance inside your backpack of life makes the journey that much easier. We all make choices everyday in how we walk in this life. Therefore, may you walk with your backpack full of various character traits; making sure that Tolerance is among them too