Acceptance vs Tolerance

In recent days, I’ve been thinking about two concepts that have been all over the media and social networks: tolerance and acceptance, two concepts that sometimes used synonymously, although they are totally different. I know that after discussing my opinion on the subject, there will always be that someone that will not agree for some reason because in our reason, we see our point of view as the truth and others as debatable, or may generate doubts. My intention is not to convince anyone but state my view on the subject.

What is my feeling about these two concepts? Tolerance is something imposed, I do not like, but I can stand it. I do not accept it, but do not let that affect me now. When I tolerate something I’m stating only that I can live with it. I’ve heard a lot about tolerance, and people proclaim “we must teach our children to tolerate” and I think that this something that should be taught when you have no choice to change what bothers you. “Well, I do not like spinach but tolerate a “Dip”. I do not like “reggaeton” (latin Hip Hop), but I tolerate at a party. As we see is a concept that is imposed to us, a concept that despite having a well-intentioned connotations, has a hidden side: how can much can we tolerate “reggaetón” at a party, or how much spinach can tolerate a “dip” until they cause sickness? Last Saturday, June 11, Orlando was impacted by an American citizen causing a slaughter in the Gay Club “Pulse”. According to the information provided by the parent, it may have been an homophobic acts, because in past months he have seen two men kissing, other research suggests that it was a terrorist act by the Islamic state. Many have classified the slaughter as a hate crime (although in my understanding any crime is caused hate) and comments of solidarity were read to the victims and their families and in other hand comments of joy and celebration by groups citing biblical texts and proclaiming that was God punishment. The first reaction of people and mine was and frustration, to see how many people with lack of feeling, judged and among its pseudo-solidarity said “although their souls were not with God we pray for them …” but that’s another topic I will not discuss here, but in their speech we can observe in some cases tolerance. Communities stated to ask for tolerance, tolerance towards others, their differences and communities. I understand that each of us grow up indoctrinated with a system of values that we learn of the family, school, friends, and community, where the unknown is not well seen, the unknown is scary and may cause insecurity. Where being different comes out of our norm and then two things happen, you tolerate it or accept it. The problem when we tolerate the unknown, we doubt it, we doubt its existence, and we begin to judge whether it is good or bad for society. Then our “Hard Disk” begins to search through our mental files to identify it as a threat or not, if it matches with information we were taught growing up. But the question that makes me formulate this concept is: How long a person can tolerate one thing that has always been told to be bad? To what extent this affects what we call tolerance to not normal (abnormal) according to my standards? My standards and beliefs, go over other’s beliefs? For this is why the concept of tolerance causes me some conflict. Because in my vision, it is not a lasting concept, there will come a time that what we tolerate detonates something in us to attack someone or the unknown. Maybe that happened to the murderer of the slaughter of Orlando, how much did this person tolerate the LGBT community or Latino Community, or all American citizens in general, and that day in the “Gay Pride” and a Latin night his tolerance reached the limit. We need to be very careful when we teach our future generations to tolerate individual differences, since we are giving inadvertently double message and can cause confusion. So why proclaim or encourage our children to learn to tolerate our differences, instead of teaching to accept that in the world there are cultures and different from our races regardless of their religious beliefs and cultures, accept that we have no absolute truth. When you teach acceptance, not only I declare that I can live with it, but it will not affect me in the future. Acceptance truly opens us to love our neighbor, to understand the unknown, and not feel threatened by it. When babies are born, they play with each other, no matter where they are from or who their parents are, they accept each other as who they are, because they just want to play. Until adults begin to call evil what we perceive as bad, we began to pass from generation to generation our own prejudices and so we stop exploring.

As a Mental Health professional, I also began to reflect on these concepts, and I’ve always tried to be fair when I’m in a meeting with someone, because my beliefs and values are not always similar to our patients / clients. I have concluded that one of the keys to lead a healthier life is to focus more on acceptance, than tolerance, although tolerance is necessary as a mechanism to reach acceptance. For what bothers you, tolerance can help you take the time to understand the unknown, walk in the other person‘s shoes… know their history, understand where they come from.


On the issue of LGBT, with the debate that if they choose to be so or are born (Nature vs Nuture), multiple studies have validated that they are born with their sexual orientation, this does not mean that if a boy plays with a doll he will become gay or if a girl likes to play with cars will be lesbian. In the past years we see in sports scene, that the stereotypes of what is gay has changed. Not all gay boys are weak and effeminate, as we see over the years, as athletes and artists have come out of the closet and break the stereotype. We have in the other hand, lesbians girls, not all develop a masculine features, because there are couple of lesbians who are top models of “Victoria Secret”. Some may be noticeable when growing up, others not, others try to live in the “closet” due to all offensive speech promoted. Some even marry, but choose to live a double life hiding from social and religious stigmatization (there are many like that). You can take them to Conversion therapies, beat them, and throw them out of the house, but at the end they will be who they really are.

If God is the judge, why do we waste time to judge the community, and do not take the time to meet them, shake their hands, and treat them like any heterosexual, since the only difference is concerning their sexual orientation. If they are so sure that God will judge them and wi, as you will be judged tool (whoever is free of sin cast the first stone) then show God and changed your tolerance to acceptance. This will prevent LGBT to become involved in high-risk behavior, suicide, and resentment towards other communities and even themselves. Studies show that many of the LGBT community develop internalized homophobia where they develop the conflict with themselves due to stigmatizations, and prophesies that will condemn them, all this due non-acceptance behaviors. As this issue, there other less understandable taboos that people develop theories and justifications to condemn, like breastfeeding in public as grotesque and should cause shame, and if a person incites the violators, and blames the victims, up to promote discrimination against children with autism not having a “connection” with God and teasing people with Down syndrome, demonstrating our lack of acceptance of what they conceive as not normal (when normal is so relative to cultures)

“It is true, each of us will have to” answer for himself before God. So let us not judge one another. By contrast, aim to live in such a way that does not offend another believer “- Romano 14

This happened last Saturday, June 11 in Orlando should help us to reflect on the future of humanity and ourselves. We focus on wanting to impose our beliefs and values on others, instead of learning from others, accept that we are equal within our individual differences … Humans by God (which you identify) who want a better world created. You, Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Islam and other religious denominations, in the end everyone will be held accountable to God, Allah, Jesus, Muhammad, the universe, that is, they do not need secretaries on earth and much less than the separating wanting mobs.

I decide to accept and leave tolerance behind … in the end you are going live your life the way that makes you happy and not the people around you, as long as your happiness is not at the expense of others…




“Tolerance involves a deferred confrontation, conversation is not possible, and there is no room for dialogue: you’re there and do not ask me more than enough I have to have you there …

Acceptance involves a necessary to close a conversation statement, is to close a chapter to open new possibilities: I will accept as legitimate, you have the same rights as me, we are equal”. — The Mirror Coaching