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Tolerance in Social Circles: Part 2

Nov 17, 2020

Disagreement Doesn’t Mean One is Wrong

It happens so often. At a family supper, an Islamic topic comes up. There is a difference of opinion and this difference turns into a heated argument to the extent that one claims the other is not a true Muslim etc. Sometimes it’s a political discussion that turns into a heated debate. Even worst, sometimes we make enemies over a sports-related disagreement.

The above scenarios can be avoided if we show more tolerance. We don’t have to pat them on the back and give them a hug, all we have to do if just understand that just like how we have our views, others also have their views. If we want others to respect our views, we should be ready to respect the views of others.

Just because we are tolerant of someone doesn’t mean we have to agree with them in any way. Too many people think if they tolerate someone or allow the other person to state a different opinion and listen politely that they are in some way agreeing to the other’s opinion. This is not so. There is no reason we can’t sit quietly and listen to someone else’s opinion. We are in no way agreeing to them. We are simply being accommodating enough to listen to them and consider their stand. Try to put ourselves in their shoes and see if we can understand why they feel the way they do. It won’t cost us anything and might actually help us grow as people.

In most cases, our opinion is not going to change. So what? At least we did them the courtesy of listening (Really listening, not just sitting there and thinking up our rebuttal). And who knows? There may come a day when we listen to someone who has a logically thought-out position with supporting evidence and we may actually change your opinion on something.

Now here’s the point where most of us get hung up. We don’t have to dislike someone simply because we disagree on everything. We can tolerate someone’s differing opinions, respect them and even in some cases grow to love them as one of our best friends without having the same opinions about anything.

Tolerance doesn’t mean “I agree,” it means “I’m willing to listen and think about it.” The next time we are at odds with someone, sit back and really think about the message we are sending out and realize that it can’t possibly hurt us to be kind. It may actually help us grow as individuals.


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