“The thing that counts is not what we can do but what we actually do.”

Leo L. Spears

Life is a process of learning, among other things a learning of tolerance. Self-control in everyday life, day by day, leads us step by step to the point where this virtue becomes part of us. Only then can life bring us closer to the Goal.

Tolerance can be defined as a virtue and one of the basic human rights. It should not separate people but unite them. We live in different environments, we belong to different cultures, religious communities. In most cases, we adopt teachings, values, virtues, standards … from our parents and the society we live in. We are individuals with different education, gifts, desires, each of us carries one’s own experiences, desires, as well as sorrows and joys. All of this separates and simultaneously unites us. Tolerance allows and teaches. In this way, we come into contact with different ways of thinking, different ideas and values and become richer.

And yet it happens too often that all this varied and rich diversity degenerates. We hate others because of the colour of their skin, because they do not belong to the right religion, do not think the way we do, they make us nervous because they do not share our opinion or appearance. “Being different” can disturb us so much that it causes verbal or even physical violence. A question appears, why and where it all started and who carries the guilt that intolerance sometimes takes on extreme forms. Should we blame the parents who are the first role-models to their children, the society, the state, the school system or simply all of them together?

There is already plenty of intolerance among young children, but which we can still somehow tolerate. A conversation and the right educational measures can eliminate such behaviour. In this process, everybody should get involved, the parents, the teachers and other adults. And yet only words are not enough if there is no right example. When adults express their opinions in the presence of children, thinking they are too young to understand, they are wrong. Comments and judgments, mostly unfounded, are well “rubbed in”. Adults carry a large portion of blame. It all begins with the individual and is continued in the family, environment, state in which we grow up, and it also reflects all of the problems and difficulties present in our world.

I do not know anybody who wouldn’t encounter some form of intolerance in their lives – be it as a victim or a perpetrator. The awareness that we are doing something wrong by itself takes us onto the path of right action. Self-control, solid faith and self-confidence can help us to get rid of such behavior. When we are its victims, we have several options at our disposal. We can strike back, but we should think about it and see whether such a reaction will bring us a lasting contentment. The second possibility is to talk to the person involved, explain how we feel and ask them to stop. If the conversation doesn’t bring a satisfactory result, we can stay away from the person. When even this is not possible, there is the possibility to ignore their remarks. It is difficult but not impossible. The remarks are most often well-aimed arrows, meant to hit us in the most vulnerable spot. And yet, when we remove the cause of pain, it stops hurting. In time, remarks will disappear and the lesson is learned.

We should reflect upon the following words by Tyron Edwards: “Ridicule may be the evidence of wit or bitterness and may gratify a little mind, or an ungenerous temper, but it is no test of reason and truth.”

S strpnostjo povezujemo tudi potrpežljivost, ko čakamo na razvoj dogodkov, rezultate dejanj, na prelomnice v življenju ipd. Nepotrpežljivost je ovira, zavira vero, zaupanje in je vzrok za večino skrbi ter problemov. Vse ima svoj čas in kraj. Časa in dogodkov ne moremo prehitevati. Raje gojimo pozitivno samopodobo, vero, prepričanje v resnico, dobroto, tako tlakujemo pravo pot sebi in smo lahko vzgled tudi drugim.

Tolerance is also closely tied to patience when we are waiting for events to develop, the results of actions, the turning points in life, etc. Impatience is an obstacle, inhibiting faith and trust and causing the majority of our worries and problems. Everything has its time and place. Time and events cannot be rushed. We should instead nurture a positive self-image, our faith, our belief in truth and goodness as in this way, we are paving the right path for ourselves and can be an example to others, too.