Acceptance vs. Tolerance

by Scott Noelle

Acceptance is one of your greatest sources of Power. Without it, you couldn’t receive or own anything, handle unexpected change, or listen effectively.

In general, acceptance means being at peace with What Is. When you refuse to accept something, you sacrifice your peace.

Non-acceptance creates resistance and shifts your focus away from what you want, toward what you don’t want.

Can you see, then, how you disempower and undermine yourself when you deem your child’s behavior “unacceptable”?

But acceptance is not the same as tolerance. It’s entirely possible to accept something while choosing not to tolerate it. For example, if your child were trying to hit someone, you could accept it — make peace with it and let go of judgments about it — even while using the minimum protective force necessary to prevent the hitting.

The difference is how you feel in the process:

  • Tolerance without acceptance leads to resentment.
  • Tolerance with acceptance leads to appreciation.
  • INtolerance without acceptance leads to conflict.
  • INtolerance with acceptance leads to creativity.

In other words, when you accept What Is — AND you’re clear that you want a change — it’s easy to solve problems creatively.

Originally published on 2006-07-03
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