Tolerating our differences can easily equate to ignoring them. For instance, children are taught not to point out diversity and people are encouraged to ignore differences that make us unique. By not saying anything, we tolerate instead of celebrate people, who are not like us. We don't have to grow in compassion and understanding of others, we can simply exist along side them.
To really understand tolerance, we have to face up to our own biases. Why is it most people create stories about others, before we even meet them, or know who they actually are? Yet, we can't really know someone until we drop this bias.
When I went for surgery, I was immediately uncomfortable when I was greeted by such a young surgeon. How could he know what he's doing? I thought, he can't possibly do this surgery on his own. Luckily, they quieted my tension with drugs and the surgery went well.
In this age where technology exposes everything, it is shocking how bias still exists. Why don't biases die- instead they keep moving from generation to generation? Because we are not speaking up, shining a light on faulty perceptions.
Diversity movational speaker, Renee Myers, says we should talk about things that make us super uncomfortable, to break down barriers. When someone throws around racist comments, don't let it go unnoticed. Reminding people these are unhealthy perceptions and by ignoring them, they persist.
What makes us unique are our differences, we grow together in compassion when we see the world through others challenges and embrace diverse perspectives.
If we truly listen, we will be forced to shift our perceptions.
Listen. Share stories. Speak up!