[The third T in ATTITUDE]
ATTITUDE – Authentic, Tenacious, Teachable, Imaginative, Tolerant, Uplifting, Decisive, Energizing
Non-judgment and acceptance keep all minds and doors open. John Shin
Sharing our workload makes sense, though it’s not always easy to be tolerant of other people. Setting aside beliefs, habits, methods, and opinions doesn’t come naturally for most of us.
Our opinions, beliefs, and point of view are essential parts of what makes us unique. Placing our ego and need for self-righteousness in check goes against the grain of who we are.
Most of the conflicts throughout history are a result of rigid beliefs and inflexible behavior; our way is the right way, the only way. While this way of thinking has resulted in some successful endeavors, even the most solitary pursuits often involve the cooperation and help of others at some stage.
Let’s look at a few ways to improve our ability to be tolerant, caring, and helpful with others.
Build a Bridge
Empathy is a powerful tool for building relationships and forging friendships. It takes into consideration what other people are thinking and feeling and allows you to “walk a mile” in their shoes to experience what they are going through. Unlike sympathy which is your feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune from a distance, empathy builds a bridge by becoming one with each other.
The key to being empathetic is to focus on the details and facts at hand. Ask for an explanation and listen for content and understanding. Imagine what it must be like for this person to be going through this experience. Tune-in to the feelings these thoughts evoke. You may be reminded of similar experiences, your own “home movie reel”. Limit the amount of sharing of these stories to what’s relevant and useful to help stay focused on the situation at hand.
You may please some of the people some of the time, but you’ll never please all of them, ever. Accept this and embrace the power of this universal law. It feels good when people agree with us and accept what we do and say, not-so-good when they don’t. Here is where I find opportunities to grow.
By welcoming disagreement or an alternative point of view, you create two opportunities to grow—education and expansion. Being open to new ideas and perspectives opens the door to your knowledge bank. Sometimes education comes when you least expect it from surprising sources. Always be ready to learn and allow your mind to grow.
Expansion happens when your mind is open, and you are willing to relax and let go a little, welcome a new point of view. Welcome disagreement. By being tolerant and flexible with people, you may receive new input and develop a new take on things. Be grateful for these opportunities. Who knows, maybe it’s time to let go of some old ideas and upgrade your operating system.
Just Like Me
This trick is one of my favorites, and it will help you reduce conflict and become more tolerant of others. Tolerance is about acceptance and acceptance is about truth. You don’t always have to agree with others, but a safe environment for people to express their truth is a must in any situation where growth is the goal.
The expression, “Just like me” is a powerful reminder that people are all very much the same. We all need love. We all need acceptance. Everyone makes mistakes. Whenever you disagree or get angry at the opinions or boneheaded actions of others, go ahead and have your internal rant. Keep it to yourself. Then add “just like me” at the end. For example, someone rolls a stop sign or cuts you off in traffic. Don’t get angry and waste energy being upset. Unless you’re perfect, you have likely made a similar mistake or behaved as poorly somewhere in your past. Just like me.
Be tolerant. Everyone’s opinion counts, yet none of them matter.
To recap our discussion:
- You have control over your ability to be tolerant.
- Be empathetic with people—focus on the details and become one with them.
- Welcoming disagreement creates opportunities for education and expansion.
- Use “Just like me” to remind yourself that we are all human.