Balancing tolerance and values

Balancing tolerance and values

I recently wrote about the existence of tension in life (HERE).

In this post, I mostly wrote about the fact that we can feel more than one feeling at any point in time, and that those feelings might even seem incongruent.

We can, for example, feel excited and afraid, happy and sad.

But today I’m thinking about a different type of tension; the tension between standing up for what we value and believe in and being accepting and tolerant.

I’ve found that this tension can directly impact on my happiness; and I’ve found that getting the balance right can be incredibly difficult.

Among other things, I highly value acceptance and tolerance. I think we could all agree to disagree better and more often.

At the same time, however, I value values; and I value those who stand up for what they value.

So, what happens then, when standing up for what you value conflicts with attempts to be tolerant and accepting?

Let me give you an example …

I have friends with a wide array of political opinions; as we all do. And that’s OK. Until it isn’t.

More often than not I try to tolerate these differences. And more often than not I can overlook different opinions for what they are, relatively minor differences in the context of greater commonality.

But what if someone believes in something, or supports a person or a position that’s fundamentally in opposition to one of your core values? If you value fairness, for example, and the other person supports something that’s basically unfair. If you value respect and the other person supports someone who repeatedly acts disrespectfully. At some point there’s going to be tension, conflict, and some form of unhappiness!

To be honest, I’m really not sure what the answer is. Again, I value tolerance. But is it really a good idea to tolerate the intolerable?

I guess this post isn’t really providing any answers. I don’t think I have the answer. But maybe it will prompt some of you to reflect upon your situations and maybe move even just a little bit closer to finding that elusive balance between boundaries and acceptance, between tolerance and standing up for what’s important.

At least I hope it might …