Giving consideration to people who differ from your norms

By KC Longley

In this society, it is common for most people to feel comfortable sharing their opinion on certain things. No matter what that includes, be it politics, religion or lifestyles, they feel it is alright to state their opinions out loud.

And that isn’t a bad thing. It is perfectly acceptable to share your thoughts and beliefs on something, but it becomes a problem when you share it regardless of how it will affect those around you.

No, this does not always fall under the realm of being politically correct. It’s exhibiting a basic human understanding that not everyone is exactly like you and therefore may not agree with certain things you believe.

Imagine how it feels to be sitting with fellow peers and hearing someone say an underhanded comment that relates to how you identify. No one appreciates getting that feeling in the pit of their stomach that makes them feel lesser than those around them.

Everyone spews about practicing tolerance without really knowing what that means. By definition, tolerance means having sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices that differ from one’s own. That means taking your perspective out of the scenario with the understanding that someone else lives their life differently than you.

When one practices bigotry, they have an intolerant devotion to their own opinions and prejudices, and they are unwilling to share social, political or professional rights.

For example, if someone identifies as Catholic, they are not going to appreciate someone making fun of their traditions in the church. Surprisingly enough, someone who identifies as LGBT won’t be understanding of an argument if they hear someone call their identity disgusting either.

If one wants others to be gracious towards their beliefs, it is only fair to provide that same right to those around them.

Everyone deserves to feel like their inherent worth is recognized. We all inhabit the same planet and breathe the same air, regardless of if you think that God graced us with this home and ability to live or that we have evolved to be the creatures that we are.

If one chooses to ignore the fact that those around them have their own set of beliefs and ideologies, then that brings us back to the issue of bigotry.

Sometimes, one might think they are being tolerant, when in reality, they’re being begrudgingly accepting. And we shouldn’t just tolerate someone’s way of life, someone’s beliefs. We tolerate the gum on the soles of our shoes, not someone’s existence.

No one is made up of just one thing. This is recognized by Fritz Perls, a noted psychiatrist and psychotherapist, who noted that there are various layers that make up a person and the way they react to the world around them. In this instance, these layers apply to the very observable fact that there are different facets and qualities that make us who we are.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with everything someone says, the fact of the matter is that there is no reason to be vulgar towards someone who is different than you.

Personally, I’ve experienced disapproval from people I love for the way I identify, but at the end of the day, their love for me outweighs their objections. They accept me for who I am.

So moving forward, I challenge you to follow that golden rule we’re taught as children. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.

Be careful of the way you come off around people you don’t know, just like you’d hope they would do for you.

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