Reality Check: Tolerance vs. Acceptance

“Tolerance isn’t freedom; it’s the illusion of freedom.”

The Illusion of Intolerance

It wasn’t always like this- this intolerance we have for each other. Looks, skin color, opinions, political stance, who we love and even how we dress are all reasons we don’t tolerate each other. Of course, the reasons don’t end there. We are intolerant of individuals, groups and entire nations. But, as I said, our intolerance wasn’t always like this. As an example, religious intolerance barely existed before the rise of monotheism. Ancient polytheistic religions worshipped numerous gods but didn’t involve themselves in the business of exact professions of faith. Orthodoxy or heresy just weren’t issues.[i]

Throughout the ages, we moved farther and farther away from a heart, earth and sky-based existence and into a more fearful, isolated, mind-based existence. This movement away from our heart, and therefore love, meant a shift from our connection with all that is to a connection with nothing more than thoughts filled with fear. We are in our heads more than we are in our hearts. It is to the point now where we have almost entirely lost our connection to our inner self – that which is part of everything. No wonder we all feel alone and lonely so often.

This fearful mind we have been conditioned to believe in has separation as a main function of its foundation. If you watch how it works, you will see the mind separates us from loved ones, others and ourselves every chance it gets and for no good reason either, though you will think your reasoning is sound. Separated from others and also from our loving self, we end up mainly living a life in our mind, which isn’t living – it’s thinking. For many of us, life is just a bunch of thoughts strung together forming a world existence that doesn’t often step beyond the boundaries of our ears.

So, what are we so afraid of? We have been programmed to believe we are not good enough. This belief automatically creates a sense of lack within us. The sense of lack creates fear. It is this fear that creates intolerance. But, of who or what are we intolerant? We may think we are intolerant of others or of situations, but the truth is we are really intolerant of ourselves. Herein lies the illusion of intolerance because intolerance isn’t about other people or situations, intolerance is about us. As such, we project our intolerance out onto the world so we don’t have to feel the constant pain that accompanies it. This projection also keeps us from dealing with the truth about it, which in turn only serves to keep us in the dark and perpetuate more intolerance.

Is there a way out of this illusion of intolerance? How do we transcend our intolerance of others, situations and ourselves? To date, the best answer we have come up with is tolerance. But, that isn’t really working for us because it doesn’t cure the core issue. Tolerance is also an illusion.

The Illusion of Tolerance

Tolerance is an illusion because it is based on our fear of not being good enough. At any level of tolerance, we are still intolerant unless we have complete acceptance. In a tolerant state of mind, nothing has been truly healed. Behind the fa‚àö√üade of tolerance, we continue to believe others are separate from us, better than us, worse than us or wrong compared to us. And we still believe we are not good enough. In effect, tolerance is just intolerance wrapped up in nice packaging; something we have tricked ourselves into believing is the right or nice thing to do.

The thing is, you can’t solve a mind-created problem with a mind-created solution. The mind-created problem is that others are intolerable. Of course, we know this really means we are intolerable. And we are intolerable because we are told we are lacking in some way; that we are not good enough. But, the foundation of the fear-based mind is an illusion, a lie – there is nothing wrong with any of us. The mind, being highly limited in scope, has come up tolerance as the to solution to intolerance. That is to say, the mind is solving an illusion with another illusion. And we have seen, tolerance is not a solution but a continuation of our fears. When the answer to fear is another fear, nothing has been solved, nothing changes and nothing heals.

Is this issue of not feeling good enough and of intolerance solvable then? Yes, with movement back to our natural, normal state; a state where we transcend the fear-based mind and reconnect with a heart-based existence that brings peace within, knowing we are part of all that is, that everything is okay and that we are all worthy of love. The key to all love is self-love for self-love automatically allows for the love of all. Just as our intolerance of us is projected onto the world, so is self-love projected onto the world. In this state of being, healing begins.

What is the key to self-love? Self-acceptance. When we accept ourselves, we accept all. You may see a pattern emerging here – the pattern is that what we believe about ourselves is what we believe about the world. We can use the awareness and the observations of intolerance and tolerance to find out more about ourselves. It is this introspection that moves us forward toward the heart and love.

All healing comes from within. No one outside of us needs to change. No situation needs to be different. Anything outside of us is meant to show us what needs healed within us. Understanding this allows for the transformation and transcendence to begin. We deserve this more then ever.

The Evolution from Intolerance/Tolerance to Acceptance

People don’t want to be tolerated; they want to be accepted. If we are going to be truly free, we must accept each other. In order to accept each other, we must accept ourselves. How do we do this? Below are some ways for us to get started today:

Forgive yourself.

So many people think they can’t possibly forgive a person for something that was said, done or even implied. While forgiving others can be empowering, cleansing and healing for the forgiver, the forgivee may find no relief in that at all. Why? Because forgiveness isn’t as much about other people as it is about us. We don’t need others to relieve us of the pain of blame as much as we need to relieve ourselves from it. Forgiveness begins with compassion for ourselves. Everyone thinks and acts in ways that are not so cool sometimes. Don’t ruin your life over a moment of madness that arose from your fear-based mind. Reach out. Communicate with the other person. Clear the air. Put your relationship with that person back to a state of balance, which is the same as the state of love. This is one way we can move back to the heart-based existence full of love and the connection to all that is.

Accept Yourself and Let Go.

When we accept ourselves, we let go of the past – the stuff we didn’t do, the stuff we did do. We take from those scenarios the life lessons that help guide us and shape us into the human being we are becoming – and that is the frequency of love itself. This is where compassion, understanding and love are applied to the self. This is where healing begins. Let go of expectations of any person or any future outcome. It is a lot of stress to try to control everything, especially since control is an illusion. If you must do something – just be. That is plenty for any human being to do in one lifetime. Remember, self-love coms from self-acceptance. Accept yourself as you are a little more each day until you can build up to an entire day. It doesn’t mean we don’t have things we need to change and it isn’t a free-for-all to hurt others at will. Acceptance comes from a much deeper, more sacred place. You will know it when you feel it.

Quiet the inner critic.

Intolerance arises from within the mind. These are your beliefs and thoughts that take you away from love and from the ability to expand love to others. This is our inner critic and it’s time to put it to an end once and for all. Start today. Don’t tolerate name calling. Don’t tolerate berating. Don’t tolerate self-abuse of any kind. You must break this habit and restructure your mind to come into alignment with your heart. You can do it. Each one of us is responsible to correct this initial error of believing we are not good enough. I am here to suport you in this endeavor with these articles.

In order for us to evolve, to move forward as a society and as a species, it is important for us to shift from tolerance to complete acceptance. This means we must move from disconnection to connection, from mind to heart, from fear to love.

To do this, each one of us needs to start with ourselves. We spend an inordinate amount of time focused on what other people can do to be better than we think they are. Let’s take that same energy, that same commitment, that same gusto and use it to advance ourselves. Let’s not be concerned with others so much anymore. It is a waste of valuable time and energy. Imagine how our life would change if we took all that energy and applied it to us. How the world would change! Imagine the healing that would take place. Imagine the love we would give. Imagine the love we would feel.

[i] Tomek, Vladimir (2006), Teachings of Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in World Religions, Retrieved 15 March 2015,

This article is dedicated to my niece, Lindsey, who helped me so much by loaning her MacBook to me while we were on vacation in Italy this past week. Thank you, Linds!