How to be Tolerant in an Intolerant World

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #20

Tolerance is a virtue few have.

I will be honest when I picked up this one I had to chuckle a little. Like I said when I started this project that these fortune cookie papers had significant meaning to them and I knew I would be learning valuable lessons from these little phrases. How can we be more tolerant around others and in situations that we may not agree with and be able to keep things healthy? Tolerance is something that we all have to work on at some point in our lives and the more we can grasp understanding the better we can be as human beings. Here are six ways we can work on being a more tolerant world.

1. Empathy Please

Empathy is the way that we can understand feelings and share them with each other. If we are empathetic with those around us, we have the awareness to care. One way to be more empathetic is to look at the perspective of the other person. A good example is siblings. Unfortunately, my siblings and I are not very close. I remember as a child having the hardest time getting along with my siblings. We would fight regularly, and usually, there was a consequence for our fighting behavior. I often wonder if our parents would have sat us down as children and had talked about what we thought was right and take time to listen to the other, I think we could have put a stop to the constant fighting and would have been able to build better relationships with one another. We each would have been taught to empathize with the other and learn to communicate with one another in a manner that would have built our relationships rather than each one of us continually attacking the other. Empathy causes us to be compassionate, and it takes away the “I am always right, and you are still in the wrong mentality.

2. Ask the Opposition For an Explanation

Let the other party explain their point of view. It is okay to have your viewpoint but taking time to listen to the one you don’t agree with gives a sense of respect and can make a tense situation and lighten it up a bit. I think as a whole many of us are taught to be right, and we need to understand this is a big world with tons of different perspectives and even though we don’t agree doesn’t mean that everyone else is wrong. When giving the other person a chance to answer don’t be aggressive when you hear something that you may not like and don’t dismiss their side of the story. Take this opportunity to learn from them and gain some understanding of why they believe the way they do and embrace the difference that you both have with one another.

3. Ignore the Differences

I think that if you can ignore the differences that you may have with one another and embrace the relationship you share that is a fantastic experience. Many individuals are in my life that share different opinions and views, and that’s okay with me because we are different. I value my relationships more than I appreciate the differences I have with them. Many of these things that we have differences on will come and go, and as long as we can get through the conflicting opinions, we get to keep the people that we love and appreciate.

4. Don’t Accuse or Assume

Anyone ever heard the phrase “Assuming makes an ass out of you and me.” In my life, I have found this out many times, and every word of it is valid. Accusing people is something that should not be done especially if you are valuing that relationship. No one likes to be accused of being something that they are not. The same thing goes for assuming. Assuming someone is just going to jump on board with whatever you expect is not only dangerous but pretty unrealistic. We are independent people with independent thoughts, and we can’t force people to think and act the same way we do it is just not going to happen. When dealing with different opinions, it is better to keep the accusations and assumptions out of the conversation.

5. Address the Problem and Try to Solve

Compromise is excellent when it comes to addressing a problem. By making sure to understand all points of view and showing acknowledgment of someone else’s viewpoints will get you further than if you just shut them down. Use negotiation to your advantage and keep calm so that the environment doesn’t get uncomfortable. Something to do when addressing an issue is using the “I” statements. Instead of saying you think this or you believe that state them as your viewpoint. Using comments that start with you can lead to people feeling like they are being accused of something especially if the conversation you are having has anything to do with disagreements.

6. Remember the Value of Difference

The difference is what makes our world great. It gives us an opportunity to grow and learn. We can still have our beliefs and opinions but understand that there is more than one belief or idea out there in this world. Even though you may not agree you can always agree to disagree and keep the clam before it becomes a storm. Take time to learn about the other points of view.

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We may not all think alike, and that’s okay. If we can try to remember to be empathetic with those we don’t see eye to eye with it will get us a lot further along in this world. When in a conversation that is getting heated take time to ask the other party for their explanation and gain understanding into why they think the way they do. Sometimes we can get past the differences by just ignoring them and focusing only on our relationships. Make sure not to accuse or assume something of someone else. Doing this never ends well and will leave you both unhappy. You can always address a problem and try to come up with an adequate solution by learning to make compromises. Remeber that difference is great and that we can learn something we may not have known about that other person before. Next time you come across someone or something that needs tolerance take a look at the situation and ask yourself is this argument worth this relationship?

How to Make The Best Out of a Bad Situation

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #19

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a magic wand that we could instantly change the bad things that happen in our lives? We would be able to flip the switch in an instant with no pain or fear. Unfortunately, that is not how life works, and bad things do happen. We can get a handle on these unexpected circumstances if we can work with the harder times in life. Here are five ways to take not so pleasant situation and make it better in the end.

1. Perspective is Everything

Take a look at the problem as a whole. Ask yourself if this is going to affect the rest of your life? If your answer is yes, then take a look at how to improve the circumstance and make it better so that it will work for you in the future. Look at ways to make this work and then start fixing the problem the best way you can. Perspective gives you the freedom to decide how you feel about the outcome. You can hate the result and feel miserable, or you can keep your head high and see what you can do to change the situation. If the situation is not going to affect you for the rest of your life acknowledge the problem and move on and don’t look back, you don’t have time to waste reminiscing on things that did not work out.

2. Accept What You Can Not Change

We can not always control the outcome that life gives us. When life throws you into a tailspin remember to not focus on the things that are unchangeable. Focusing on these things can hold us back on repairing and moving forward in our lives. If something isn’t working, don’t focus on this instead move on to another plan. I have learned by taking those things that I can not change and grow from the experience is better than waiting for something to happen that won’t.

3. Flexibility

Just like accepting change we also have to allow for flexibility in our outcome. If something is not working, reevaluate what the problem is and see what else will work. Being flexible will also let you not to be surprised if what you initially thought did not work out. Being flexible will also lighten the blow if what you worked hard for fails. I used to believe that life was scheduled and planned for every minute of every day and this thought process quickly changed the moment I had children. Anyone who has dealt with littles will agree that the planning and organization that you work so hard for as an adult will quickly fly right out the window when children are involved. I am thankful for the opportunity to raise my children so that they could teach me to be flexible.

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4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Beating yourself up for something that can not be changed is a complete waste of time.  If you made a bad choice then you are human just like the rest of us and as long as you acknowledge and move forward this will be the best learning experience.  Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes we make big mistakes but it is ok and to be able to grow from your mistakes make you a stronger human being.

5. What Have You Gained From the Experience

Whether life hands you lemons or lemonade, we need to be able to take whatever experience and learn from it. Nothing is perfect and being able to take the knowledge that we gain from our failures is priceless and should be valued.

Why does life seem to be so unpredictable? If life were so predictable, it would not be so exciting. Even though there may be times when we feel like we have moved twenty steps back instead of forward taking the time to learn from the experience and make a plan to move forward to new experiences. Always take a look at the situation as if it were a glass half full instead of empty. Your perspective will affect how you deal with the situation and if your attitude is confident you will be able to handle what life throws at you a lot better. Accept that whatever is ailing you will not change and figure out how to fix it. If you live your life with more flexibility, it will prepare you for times when they are not the best. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake learn from this and move forward. Always take a lesson from failure it will keep you from making the same mistakes in the future.