Tolerance: Indispensable for your personal growth

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Tolerance: Indispensable for your personal growth

Everyone is talking about tolerance. Its importance is emphasized again and again in politics and in the media. Yet it is by no means a matter of course. Everything that supposedly deviates from the norm is often viewed with suspicion and condemned. Yet tolerant behavior is the key to peaceful coexistence in which the individuality of the individual is respected.

But why do many people find it so difficult to be tolerant? And how can you internalize tolerance in your personal everyday life? We want to shed light on this and more in the following article.

What is tolerance and why is it important?

Tolerance means that you can accept other people, opinions, cultures, and Lifestyles accept in a non-judgmental way. You behave indulgently, respectfully and kindly, even if you do not agree with the other person's point of view. In simple terms, tolerance means: live and let live. Tolerating something is not the same as approving of it.

Tolerance forms the basis of peaceful interpersonal interaction. Without it, there can be neither peace nor democracy. Intolerance leads to exclusion, oppression and, in the worst case, even war. This has been demonstrated several times in the course of history.

Incidentally, the term is derived from the Latin verb "tolerare". Translated, this means something like "bearing or enduring" conditions over which one cannot exert any influence. However, the definition of the term changed at the beginning of the 18th century. Today, by tolerance we mean forbearance toward other people and their ways of seeing and living.

Tolerance examples

For better clarification, we have listed below a few common examples in which tolerance plays an important role:

  • Religion
  • sexual orientation
  • foreign cultures
  • political views (as long as they are not anti-constitutional)

However, tolerance does not always have to be associated with socially important issues. It already starts on a small scale. Maybe your partner has a completely different view when doing the housework. Routine than you. You show yourself tolerant by simply accepting his approach without comment and not trying to lecture him.

tolerance definition

How can you learn and practice tolerance?

Tolerance is a skill that can be trained. Provided, of course, that you are willing to set aside your prejudices. Since these are sometimes deeply rooted, the latter is easier said than done. At this point, you should again realize that tolerance does not mean approving of something. It is simply about treating other people with kindness and respect.

A first step could be that you recognize that all people have the same rights. After all, you want to be respected with your views and ways of life. Every person is individual and therefore it is not possible that we all have the same opinion. And that is also good! Only through diversity can growth occur - in the private as well as in the global context.

So, in order to learn and practice tolerance, a change in your inner attitude is necessary. You may hold your own views, but you may not force them on other people. The same applies in reverse, of course. Meet people and situations that you perceive as different with open-mindedness. To live tolerance means not to see a threat in strangeness (anymore).

Interesting to know: A representative survey looked at how high the tolerance factor of Germans is in various situations.

7 Tips for a more tolerant life: Simple steps to boost your tolerance

In theory, this may all sound logical, but it can still be difficult to implement. That's why we'd like to give you some concrete practical tips for more tolerance.

1. self-reflection

Tolerance is a process that does not come without its stumbling blocks. It is therefore all the more important that you regularly reflect on your behavior. If you catch yourself making an intolerant statement or behaving in an intolerant manner, you can take targeted countermeasures.

For example, before you make a comment that might offend another person, pause: What do you want to accomplish? Is the comment constructive in any way for the other person, or are you just venting verbally? If the latter is the case, it is often wiser to simply remain silent.

2. learn to listen

Are you one of those people who like to interrupt other people? Try to suppress this urge in the future. Being able to listen is an important component of tolerance. Don't take everything personally in conversations, but try to understand how a supposedly unacceptable statement could be meant. Actively ask questions about this.

3. try to put yourself in the other person's shoes

Every person has various experiences in the course of his life that shape his views and behavior. Things that we have not experienced ourselves can therefore sometimes be difficult to understand. Be aware of this before you make your judgment about another person fall.

4. check your prejudices

Everyone has prejudices. No one can absolve themselves of this. In order to live tolerance, however, it is important to put your prejudices to the test. After all, how are you supposed to know if they are true? This also includes taking a risk: Get to know other people and cultures. Your prejudices may turn out to be completely wrong.

5. overcome your fears

Intolerance is often based on fear and ignorance. However, this can be remedied by communicating with your Fears with the situation: What exactly about the situation seems so threatening to you that you can't tolerate it?

Putting your fears into words already helps to prevent intolerance. Afterwards, the same applies as with prejudices: Face your fears and find out whether they are justified or not.

6. nobody is perfect

Tolerance is a process in which there can also be regression. This applies to you as well as to other people. Therefore, you should not overestimate your mistakes as well as other people's bad decisions. Instead of judging yourself or others, you can learn from your mistakes.

7. keep an open mind

This tip is probably the most important to promote your tolerance in everyday life. Tolerance and open-mindedness go hand in hand. Stay curious and engage with different cultures, opinions and lifestyles. Of course, this does not mean that you have to adopt them for yourself.

Personality and tolerance: how are they related?

Tolerance can basically be learned. To describe it as a question of personality is therefore not entirely accurate. Nevertheless, your personality traits have an influence on how tolerant you are towards other people.

Let's take a narcissistic person as an example. Someone who acts exclusively self-centered and considers himself infallible will not accept any opinion other than his own. The latter corresponds to the definition of intolerance.

Our personality is shaped by upbringing and experience. It develops Beliefsthat positively or negatively influence your ability to be tolerant. Becoming aware of this is the first step in learning tolerance.

Strengthen your tolerance through self-reflection and mindfulness

As already mentioned, play Self-reflection and mindfulness play a decisive role if you want to strengthen your tolerance in everyday life. In this context, we would like to introduce you to our Personality Test recommend

Within three minutes, the scientifically based personality test provides you with information about which deeply rooted behavioral patterns shape your dealings with other people and where your personal strengths and weaknesses lie. Only if you know why you are (sometimes) intolerant, you can change something about it.

How tolerance affects your relationships and self-development

Tolerance ensures peaceful coexistence. As a result, tolerant people are less likely to be involved in conflicts with their fellow human beings. Instead, they create an atmosphere of exchange and perhaps even of Trust. This has a positive effect on social life. In the best case, tolerance can develop into acceptance, understanding or even friendship.

Tolerance is also of great advantage for your self-development. If you are tolerant, you not only live more peacefully, but you can also broaden your own horizons through confrontation with foreign views and cultures. If, on the other hand, you only accept your own opinion, you will inevitably deprive yourself of great opportunities for personal growth.


Tolerance is basically not something you have to work at, but should be a matter of course in interpersonal dealings. Unfortunately, this is not always and everywhere the case, which can be clearly seen from past and current events.

How tolerant someone is depends on their upbringing, personal experiences, and resulting beliefs. However, you can train your ability to be tolerant with the help of simple techniques. The most important prerequisite is your willingness to be open to what is different and to question existing prejudices.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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