Talk Tuesday

The current poll asks about the quality you think is most important to teach children. In Enough Frivolity, I asked you which of those characteristics you would use to identify yourself to others and which one you felt best describes you. So far, the two qualities we have not covered are tolerance and respect, tonight’s Talk Tuesday topic.


A brief consultation with Merriam Webster about the following results, pertinent to this discussion:


1     : capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina

a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own
    b : the act of allowing something

The Merriam-Webster logo.


1 a : to consider worthy of high regard : esteem
   b : to refrain from interfering with <please respect their privacy>

2    : to have reference to : concern

Both tolerance and respect have a large similarity. They both connote allowing something, with which we need not identify, to exist without interference.


I am respectful.

When we identify ourselves as respectful, we often hold ourselves only to the definition of esteem. We exercise respect for authority, elders, government, even the environment.

Occasionally, we take the definition of concern. This respect is more for things: property lines, possessions of someone else, personal boundaries.

Much more rarely, do we adhere to the second part of the first definition: to refrain from interfering. While most of us will knowingly attempt to refrain from meddling in personal affairs, it is not something which we are met with great success.

For instance, we often feel a compulsion to provide unsolicited advice. Whether stemming from a socially blunted application of caring or from a superiority complex, we are inherently judging our audience or its actions as inferior.


I am tolerant.

The predominant social definition of tolerance is the second one. We consider ourselves tolerant when we do not actively pursue activities which homogenize.

The mere coexistence of differing populations without genocide is recognized as tolerance. The shallow recognition of the existence of other religions than the one we practice is considered tolerant.

Very rarely is the definition of endurance or fortitude applied as an identity trait associated with tolerance. We consider pain tolerance a physical attribute, but we fail to recognize emotional tolerance as an identity trait.

Flash Forward

Tolerance is considered a passive quality in today’s society. Respect is demanded without being earned. The two have become mutually exclusive.

My challenge is this:

Tolerance and respect are so interdependent they cannot exist solely.”

In order to respect someone or something outside ourselves, we must tolerate it. Likewise, to tolerate someone or something outside ourselves, we must respect it.


To identify ourselves with tolerance and respect regarding others, we must be willing to identify differences without stereotyping, prejudice or judgment. Both require knowledge, compassion and kindness.

To identify tolerance and respect within ourselves, we must take on the lesser definitions. Our inner tolerance is the strength to change and forgive ourselves. Our inner respect is refraining from interfering in our own individuality.

Let's Talk Tuesday.


Tonight, let’s discuss the ways we can respect our individuality while respecting how it differs from others and how we tolerate changing that individuality to grow emotionally.

You do not have to answer the questions, but they are a guideline for topics we can explore. Please do be respectful of others’ opinions. We are not discussing tolerating one another, yet we are exercising tolerance. We are discussing respect and tolerance of self.

How do you define your individuality? 

I have often told you I am intolerant. I claim myself as such because I rarely allow, most specifically ignorance, as I strive to educate.

Have you tolerated change and forgiven yourself for the change?

Many people see changes in their individuality as a defining moment where they realize the way they were as insufficient or unacceptable. Self-forgiveness is necessary to remember the lesson, not the hurt.

How do you respect yourself while respecting how different you are from others?

In an effort to fit into society, we often try to mitigate differences between ourselves and others by either changing ourselves or attempting to convince others to change. Rarely do we compromise in this instance.

Here is your chance to Talk Back. Let’s get Talk Tuesday underway. The floor is yours.


Based on audience request, tonight’s post will go live at 1900 EDT (GMT-5) so it can be read in advance of our discussion. If you cannot stay until 2000, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. We will be discussing this in real time from 2000 until we are finished!

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
Reblogging of this or any other post on Momma’s Money Matters is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office. 
Leave a comment


  1. I don’t necessarily equate tolerance and respect. As you say, respect is earned. I would say I am courteous, until the person earns respect. Or doesn’t.
    I also don;t think I agree with change of individuality requiring self-forgiveness. Frequently for me, changes in my individuality (demeanor, behavior, attitude) are brought on by seeing something which inspired me, or by realizing I wasn’t where I wanted to be yet.
    In those cases, I don;t know that I’ve done something needing self-forgiveness. More like I wasn’t (am not) done yet, and still have to develop…
    Or have I completely missed what we’re talking about here?

    • You certainly have not missed it at all. You have expanded it. You have caught the growth portion of change in individuality, which does not require anything other than refinement. (And I am answering your comment in reverse…)

      I do not equate tolerance and respect, but profess they are interdependent. By design, they augment and support one another. And I am with you, there are many who never get to the place where respect is earned.

  2. I don’t see us as animals, but I do believe we all have common needs that drive us. Tolerance is two different things now-a-days. People are tolerant of some things but intolerant of others. I believe we were talking about self, however, so I’ll not go there (save it for later lol). Self-forgiveness (for a 12-stepper this might be something you include in a 4th step inventory and in the making ammends step) is one of the hardest things to do. I have learned, though, that withholding forgiveness from self (or others) stymies growth and makes me more intolerant in every way as I lick my wounds and become defensive. If God forgives me, who am I to withhold it from myself?

    • But alas, dear Angie, we are mammals. We are not so individual as not to share genetics. And yes, tolerance of self means letting go. I can see what you mean about the stymied growth, though. Sometimes defense is a very difficult position. It is why we build walls. And you should not.

  3. Mammals, yes, but we would have to get into a creationism vs. evolution discussion to deliniate what I meant. This was an interesting discussion. I enjoyed the comments as much as the post:)

    • I am so very glad you stopped by tonight. And the comments are why we have Talk Tuesday 😉

  4. Tolerance is much more palatable the way you define it here. What I mean is there has become a softening of any position that might potentially be offensive. I don’t have to tolerate everything everyone does or believes, but I can respect them as people. There has to be right and there has to be wrong.

    I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not, but I am not sure how else to say it. Don’t misunderstand me neither, I am not saying it is ever ok to hurt someone else, especially for who they are. All I know is that tolerance is being crammed into brains of our school children, but I don’t think they are teaching tolerance as you have defined it here.

    • You are correct. The tolerance of today is not what tolerance is. The concept being taught is to accept others’ actions even when they are hurtful, illegal and otherwise objectionable as long as they are based (read blamed) on an inherent characteristic or a labelled discriminatory tag (like religion). Tolerance is not about not hurting someone’s feelings (being PC), but it is about learning enough to know why people behave the way they do.

  5. Fascinating post. I’m still pondering it’s points. I did want to tell you how kind I think you are. You’re always willing to give a hand up to bloggers others pass by. I have great respect for that.

    • Why thank you. I am humbled by your compliment. It is a large part of my character. I share the things I enjoy and some things which may not be my particular cup of tea, but I know others will enjoy. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the evening, but do feel free to stop back by to add what you digest out of the discussion! Red.

  6. I show respect to my elders, friends and what remains of my family providing they are deserving of it.

    When the line is crossed (as in Doug’s case) then I don’t just disrespect him, I just walk away and leave him to his own devices.

    he is making his choices – I cannot make them for him – but I tolerate his acts only as long as they don’t affect me.

    Everyone has a right to go to Hell in their own fashion…

    God Bless Red! 🙂


    • I think being able to tell people to step off is a large measure of self-respect, Pren. It is you establishing your threshold for their bad behavior and sticking to it.

  7. “To give priority to the person means respecting the unique and inalienable value of the other person, as well as one’s own, for a respect that is centered only on one’s own individual self to the exclusion of others proves itself to be fraudulent.” ~ Thomas Merton

    Mutual respect is the foundation of a good & healthy relationship. Without respect, there can be no trust. Without trust, there can be no love…

    ~ Matt

    • I agree with you, Matt. The lack of self-respect, though, makes respecting anyone else fraudulent as well. In Merton’s quote about ego (the exclusive self-respect), the focus is finding the balance between ego and true self-respect which makes respecting others fulfilling.

      Good to see you tonight.

      • I agree, Red. We need to respect ourselves first, before we can respect others. In our society, where there is an epidemic of low self esteem, it’s good to be reminded of this. We can’t give what we don’t have…

        ~ Matt

  1. A Better Generation « Momma's Money Matters
  2. Who’s hungry? « Momma's Money Matters
  3. Who’s hungry? | Momma's Money Matters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.