5 Tips for Developing Tolerance Within

Embracing meditation and patience leads to peace and understanding.

Women of diverse backgrounds meditate together.

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Cultivating tolerance is life-changing. Tolerance showers grace, offers understanding, and enables deeper relationships with others. Although it is an internal process, it has the potential to change the world; and this is because making peace inside oneself leads to peace with others.

Tolerance is defined as a willingness to accept beliefs and behaviors that are different from your own. It is not about agreeing with them, rather it is about acceptance. As Herman Hesse wrote in his profound novel Siddhartha, “It is not for me to judge another man’s life.”

Yet people can be quick to judge, often because it is hard to accept differences. This mindset is instilled when a child learns to make sense of the world, as written by leadership expert Stephen Light on the mindfulness site Sivana East. If that child feels his personal beliefs are truths, he may later come into conflict with others who hold different beliefs, leading to hurt and blame. In extreme situations, this can lead to hatred and violence.

However, there is a more expansive way to think, a place where you can hold onto many truths all at once, according to the self-growth website Chopra. This mindset is liberating and is at the core of being human. And it all starts with you!

Here are five ways to help you develop tolerance in your life, enabling you to be accepting and understanding of others.


Cultivate the spiritual practice of meditation. It will help you to develop calmness and detachment from situations that trigger you. Meditating also enables you to tap into a place of light and abundance as opposed to living with negative feelings of emptiness and lack.

This ancient practice lowers anxiety, releases negative feelings, and connects you to spiritual depths in the world. It is a place of tolerance and abundance that is accessed and shared by all of humanity.

A young man meditates in a sunny meadow.

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Be patient

When a situation or a person triggers intolerance, practice patience. Take a step back while understanding that this opinion or behavior does not define the person or situation, according to life coach Leo Carver on Chopra. These feelings are temporary; just as the world is always shifting, this too will pass.

When you detach from such a situation and do not react hastily, you are strengthening your patience. Looking back, you may face it with more finesse, becoming the best version of yourself and a role model of tolerance to others.

A businesswoman faced with conflict and pressure practices patience in the form of meditation.

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Cultivate self-awareness

Being self-aware is all about being present. And when you are present, you will no longer be reactive to opinions that you may find offensive, according to Sivana East. In fact, being self-aware will help you identify your own reactive triggers so you can begin working on beliefs that drive your intolerance.

This can also lead to a change in beliefs that may have been handed down during childhood. Be self-aware and look within, then question them. This can result in an opening of the mind.

Spiritual discovery is depicted as a ladder leading up and beyond a cliff in the form of a human head.

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Be curious

Once the mind opens to new beliefs, explore. Challenge your own beliefs, as written in Sivana East. When you are curious, you can look at uncomfortable situations from a place of stillness as opposed to reactivity.

Curiosity enables you to question and listen openly without judging. You may soon develop a respect for others without needing to prove them wrong. This also helps you to reframe, reaching beyond the personal and entering a larger perspective on life.

Yes, it is possible to embrace unfamiliar beliefs and uphold them with respect. If everyone were to do this work, the world would be more expansive.

A curious cat examines tulips on a sun-filled windowsill.

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Make space beyond binary truth

It is comfortable to navigate the world using predefined boxes. These boxes are shaped early on by beliefs, then further sculpted and entrenched by messages and standards, many of which are presently promoted on social media.

Conformity to a set of beliefs may be comforting, yet it is a limiting way to live, according to Chopra.  As the world is a bountiful place of diverse identities, languages, and customs, this mindset can close one from the essence of being human.

Clenching onto one view can be restricting and could disconnect you from integral parts of humanity. Instead, realize that you can hold onto two opposing opinions. When your mind is at peace with “both/and,” you will understand that many truths can be present together. Existing beyond binary truths is truly liberating, enabling you to live a life of endless possibilities.

Acceptance and tolerance is depicted with multi-racial women embracing a globe.

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