Learning The Power of Tolerance

As soon as the words, “today we are going to be discussing abortion,” left my professor’s lips, I knew it would not end well. This is a recipe for disaster, I thought.

Within the first minute, just as I expected, two very drastic perspectives developed and eventually dominated the conversation. Well, today I guess I will find out who to not be friends with anymore.

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The energy in the room soon became tense as the classroom divided between those who identified as “Pro-Choice” and those who were “Pro-Life.” Stares of disapproval were exchanged as people began to give their opinion on the subject. Passive aggressive comments flew from one side of the room to the other. Nobody was safe. But why?

To those who find themselves judging and attacking others for possessing a different view, I ask: what gives you the right? What makes you different from everybody else?

Is it because you just believe your opinion is the right one? Who determined that your opinion could be placed on a pedestal? Yourself?

Think about it.

The issue I find in today’s society is that everyone is so intolerant to any opinion that isn’t their own. Over time, people have begun to develop the mindset that “you’re either with us, or you’re against us.” This mindset that encompasses the minds of many people in present times leads to a dead end. If everyone becomes so stuck in their own ways, nothing will ever be accomplished. How can we expect to handle pressing issues, like capital punishment and euthanasia, if every single person has tunnel vision? Friendships are lost over differing opinions, politicians bicker back and forth for hours on end coming to no conclusions... and all for what?

Why are we so insistent on maintaining that our perspective is the right one? Is it worth tearing apart friendships for? What about families? It’s a daunting issue in our world today, and if we keep up at this rate, nothing will ever be accomplished.

The true beauty of the world we live in is that we’re allowed to think whatever we want to. Naturally, we won’t all agree on everything presented to us. Just as you have the right to, each person can develop their own unique perspective on an issue. You can learn and grow from everything you hear; listen to others and respect them, this is what it boils down to.

We all deserve respect. Regardless of our opinions, above it all, we’re people. And people deserve to be treated kindly. So I leave you with this: yes, people will have different opinions than you. It could be over minor trivialities, or it could be a drastic variance in opinion. Either way, this is the beauty of life. We all have the ability to develop a fresh perspective on the same problems. So, be tolerant of views other than your own. Seek to understand, rather than seeking to be understood. While we may never completely agree, we can be kind. We can be considerate. We can be compassionate. And above all else, we can treat humans like humans.