People often seem to tolerate others instead of accepting them for who they are. Targeted groups, such as LGBTQ members, free lovers and minorities are commonly tolerated by those higher in society, and then that mentality is trickled down to a larger population. Beliefs and customs that differ from one’s own are tolerated, not accepted. That is just how it is, right? If one does not agree, if one thinks differently, it is best to just tolerate that person due to his/her different point of view than to accept said person. That is what is taught in society. That is what is integrated into education systems, in media, in social scenarios.

What it means to "tolerate" in today’s American culture is to acknowledge a certain group and to endure what they have to offer to the world to a certain magnitude. Often enough, people do this unwillingly, which, in my opinion, is not all that great for peace. Tolerating someone is like giving that said someone a backhanded compliment. “I acknowledge that you are different than me, but I will only deal with you to a certain extent since your kind of person falls in the spectrum of my tolerance level.”

So comforting, right?

With acceptance, on the other hand, comes peace. Accepting someone for who they are is two steps closer to living in peace with everyone. Acceptance brings people this sense of belonging and comfort that is tied to it. Feeling like one belongs promotes confidence in individuality. Not many people have the confidence it takes to take on the world. Many lack this crucial life skill. This world is in need of higher levels of confidence. Acceptance allows for people to strive in their different ways, paving the way for more diversity. Individuality and uniqueness are a positive thing that is needed more. Positive outlooks increases strong morale and a healthful mind.

When analyzing and evaluating people, instead of tolerating them, try to accept them for who they are. Their uniqueness and diversity bridges us to peace.