Course 2: Overcoming Intolerance

The School of Life

We all have our own opinions, cultures, beliefs and things we do not believe in. Our diversities and sense of identity is what makes the human race special. Learning how to better understand one another and finding common ground is an eternal journey of compassion and growth. We can never all be exactly alike. Celebrating our unique perspectives is something we should not suppress but embrace. All of us are students in the same school of life. We may be in different grade levels, and some of us are taking different classes, but we are all in the same school, learning at our own pace.

Respecting Our Diversities

The challenge we often face is learning how to respect each other’s diversities. Any belief or culture that promotes hate, persecution, exclusion or segregation, robs us of the ability to gain understanding, to share compassion, and to better learn how to appreciate one another. How can we ever grow or learn in an atmosphere of intolerance? We all have something life changing and beautiful to learn from one another, even when we think we lack common interests.

Hate can stem from intolerance, even when we are not fully aware of it. Being uncomfortable with what someone believes or does not believe in is a natural part of our growth. Intolerance is not. We do not always have to agree in order for us to find common ground in our respect and love for one another.

Consideration

Most of our common ground will be found in our ability to be considerate. Treating others the way you would like to be treated is the best way to describe a considerate individual. Our intentions and actions can be pure at heart and yet, people may still be offended by our actions or statements. Being considerate helps. Learning how to be considerate is a life long journey of patience and understanding. The more considerate you become, the more you begin to understand people’s perspectives, even when you do not agree with them. Consider the alternatives of how you express yourself. You don’t have to change who you are, just be prepared to expand on who you can become.

Justice

Not everyone is going to like you. No matter how kind, how nice, how compassionate or considerate you are, some people will continue to infuse hate into others and even antagonize you. Some may even resort to physical acts of aggression and even violence. Never engage violence with violence or return hate with more hatred. Action by force should always be as a result of self defense and should always be as a last resort. As often as possible, such actions should be left in the hands of authorities. An act of “justice” should always be met based upon an “urgent need” to protect and to defend, which should be free of biases, prejudices and hate.

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