“Is acceptance tolerance?”
Are the two synonymous? Should they be? According to what society tells us, the answer is yes. Survey says, tolerating is accepting. Accepting is tolerating. They’re one in the same and should not be separated. But is this true? What is tolerance/acceptance? First, let’s discover if they’re synonymous!
The definition of acceptance- according to Google– is “the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.”
Which is synonymous with receipt, receiving, taking, obtaining, and acquiring. Just to name a few.
To people, especially us teenagers, acceptance is a BIG deal. We all crave it, expect it, believe in it and thrive off of it. So when does it become harmful? Causing us pain and/or hold us back…? In essence, when does it become a bad thing?
The answer is when acceptance is confused with tolerance. Tolerance– according to Google– is the ability or willingness to forbare something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. Tolerance is synonymous with forbearance, toleration, sufferance, liberality, open-mindedness, lack of prejudice, lack of bias, broad-mindedness, and liberalism– just to name a few.
Acceptance becomes harmful when we feel obligated to be ‘okay’ with things we don’t believe in or even hurt us, in the name of unity. When we buy the lie that if we don’t agree with what society is pushing, we’re being cruel. When we feel as if there’s a standard to being accepted or when we don’t realize that we cannot change who we are. When we are forced to become what we’re not and encourage others to be what they’re not. That is when acceptance becomes wrong.
Should I have to modify myself or dress less than appropriate to be accepted? Or, should I have to be subconscious about my body type? Do I have to go to college to be considered smart? Do I have to bite my tongue on truth to be considered ladylike instead of speaking up in order to be accepted?
See, in itself, acceptance is a beautiful thing. It brings wholeness and beauty and the unity we try to find in tolerance. But acceptance of one another is an act of learning to love who we were created to be. Who we are does matter!
However, tolerance is the concept that you will turn a blind eye to wrong and sacrifice truth on the altar of harmony. Tolerance says “what you’re doing isn’t okay with us, but we don’t want to hurt your feelings so, its okay.” Which is absolutely NOT okay. Tolerance robs you, me, our friends and family of the right to listen to our conscience and act accordingly.
Tolerance also promotes quieting that voice in our head that goes red flag!
Society’s adults wonder why most teenagers seem to act as though they have no instinct for right or wrong (that conscience) while they continue to feed us ‘tolerance’ on the backhand. That is why. Everything and every opinion someone thinks up or acts upon is not necessarily a good idea and that’s okay. Its not unkind or cold-hearted to veto someone’s idea if it isn’t sound. Everything shouldn’t be explored and no matter how normal society will try to make something it doesn’t make it any less harmful or twisted.
To make it short, tolerance is taking the right from us that acceptance affords. Accepting isn’t being open to everything and tolerance isn’t actually fair. So now the question is:
Do you tolerate or accept?