If you take the time to think about what tolerance is, the word can either be negative or it can be a beautiful thing. For some of us, how we look at things will determine our path. Finding positivity in every situation, even if it’s only a mere thread, will guide a more joyful journey.
If you deeply consider acceptance vs tolerance in relationships, tolerance has to accompany you on life’s path because the people you come in contact with will all be different from yourself. If you don’t allow tolerance of flaws or dissimilar values, you could end up very lonely.
Acceptance in relationships is finding love, understanding, and appreciating the differences the other person contributes to the partnership. While we all have flaws, acceptance is stepping outside of tolerance, incorporating the things you don’t have in common into your union.
You come to a point where you enhance each other’s attributes, so even minor faults don’t develop into such a problem. It becomes possible to live in a much happier and more peaceful capacity as the individuals you genuinely are.
Read this article to learn more about acceptance vs tolerance in relationships and how they impact the equation that a couple shares.
Tolerance (not acceptance) is a unique sentiment from acceptance. There are numerous characteristics of tolerance or ways of being tolerant, if you will, like realizing no two people are alike and your partner will do things in an individual way.
The feeling can hold a great deal of positivity in most circumstances if you look for the good. In a relationship, a person with a tolerant attitude is willing to deal with habits that might otherwise frustrate them. But experts have observed that what constitutes tolerance may differ culturally.
For instance, perhaps a partner tends to take 45-minute long showers using all the hot water. Because you tend to hold a strong will for the partnership to move forward, you choose to face the issue with tolerance and acceptance to achieve a peaceful outcome.
Acceptance is not necessarily as much of an effort or thought process as tolerance. The difference between tolerance and acceptance seems more to be that one is of the mind while one is of the heart. You have to consciously consider whether you’re willing to tolerate issues with a partner for tolerance to work.
Accepting people for who they are is simply a matter of love and open arms to receive that person.
Relationship acceptance is automatic in a healthy equation, with imperfections not given a second thought. These are merely considered a part of what makes this person the partner that you love and helps you appreciate them.
Research shows that acceptance in relationships can have a direct and indirect impact on the relationship satisfaction that a person experiences. This makes learning how to accept your partner’s flaws a beneficial act.
However, acceptance shouldn’t be confused with believing the other person is perfect. No one is without flaws. It simply means you’re willing to live with the faults since you don’t find them detrimental to the partnership.
11 differences between acceptance vs tolerance in relationships
In a relationship, choosing between tolerance vs acceptance is a challenge for the partnership. With tolerance, you often find a bit of resistance or even resentment for that particular fault.
You don’t really like what’s happening and would prefer (if you had your way) that it stops. But to make things “tolerable,” you’re willing to concede. That is certainly not a heartfelt sentiment like you’ll notice love is accepting.
If you find you’re doing more tolerating than accepting, it might be worth taking a step back and examining the union a bit more closely. You can either analyze how to be more accepting of your partner or communicate the faults.
Explain why these bother you and whether you want to tolerate these, albeit still frustrated, or hope for changes in the other person to make things work.
What are some differences between acceptance and tolerance in relationships? Let’s check it out.
– Tolerance: Tolerance implies putting up with something without actively opposing it. It can involve enduring or allowing behaviors or opinions that one might disagree with or find challenging. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean embracing or supporting those behaviors or opinions.
– Acceptance: Acceptance, on the other hand, involves a more embracing and understanding stance. It acknowledges the reality of a situation or a person as they are without trying to change or resist it. Acceptance is about embracing differences and seeing them as valid and valuable.
2. Emotional response
– Tolerance: Tolerance may involve suppressing negative emotions to keep the peace. It can lead to feelings of frustration or resentment due to the lack of genuine acceptance or understanding.
– Acceptance: Acceptance is often accompanied by positive emotions like empathy, compassion, and love. When we accept someone, we are more likely to feel connected to them on an emotional level and have a deeper sense of understanding.
3. Attitude towards differences
– Tolerance: Tolerance may acknowledge the existence of differences but might not lead to appreciating or celebrating those differences.
– Acceptance: Acceptance sees differences as essential aspects of a person’s identity and embraces them as part of what makes that individual unique and valuable.
4. Depth of engagement
– Tolerance: Tolerance can sometimes involve merely tolerating someone’s presence or actions without investing emotionally or connecting deeply with them.
– Acceptance: Acceptance fosters a deeper level of emotional engagement. When we accept someone, we are more likely to actively seek to understand them and their feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
5. Active vs. passive stance
– Tolerance: Tolerance can be a more passive stance, where one may not take an active role in addressing issues or concerns.
– Acceptance: Acceptance requires active engagement. It encourages communication, empathy, and efforts to resolve conflicts or challenges in a constructive and supportive manner.
6. Impact on self-worth
– Tolerance: Tolerance might not significantly affect one’s self-worth, as it doesn’t necessarily validate or invalidate a person’s identity or worth.
– Acceptance: Acceptance positively impacts self-worth. When we feel accepted for who we are, we are more likely to develop a positive self-image and a stronger sense of self-esteem.
7. Boundaries and limits
– Tolerance: Tolerance might involve tolerating behaviors that cross personal boundaries or limits, which can lead to feeling taken advantage of or disrespected.
– Acceptance: Acceptance still requires setting and respecting healthy boundaries. It involves understanding and respecting each other’s limits while fostering a supportive and caring environment.
8. Willingness to change
– Tolerance: Tolerance may not necessarily require individuals to change their behaviors or beliefs.
– Acceptance: Acceptance doesn’t demand change, but it allows room for personal growth and mutual adaptation. It encourages a willingness to learn and grow together as individuals and as a couple.
9. Long-term sustainability
– Tolerance: A relationship based solely on tolerance may struggle to maintain long-term fulfillment and connection, as unresolved issues and emotional distance may arise.
– Acceptance: Acceptance provides a stronger foundation for long-term sustainability, as it fosters deeper emotional bonds and encourages open and honest communication.
10. Communication style
– Tolerance: In a tolerant relationship, communication may be less open or honest to avoid conflict or confrontation.
– Acceptance: Acceptance encourages open and honest communication, as it promotes trust and a safe space for expressing thoughts and feelings.
Watch this video to learn what your speaking style says about you:
11. Psychological well-being
– Tolerance: Tolerance might lead to internal conflicts and emotional strain, as suppressing negative emotions can take a toll on mental well-being.
– Acceptance: Acceptance contributes to better psychological well-being, as it allows for emotional expression, support, and understanding, leading to a more fulfilling relationship experience.
In essence, tolerance may involve temporary coexistence with differences, while acceptance cultivates genuine connection and understanding, laying the groundwork for a healthier and more enriching relationship. Remembering this can help you understand acceptance vs tolerance in relationships.
What is the role of acceptance and tolerance in healthy relationships?
Acceptance and tolerance are crucial in healthy relationships, fostering trust, empathy, and respect. They create a safe space for individuality, allowing partners to be themselves without judgment or pressure to change.
Conflict resolution becomes constructive, and emotional intimacy deepens when acceptance is present. Positive reinforcement nurtures growth, while patience reduces resentment. Such relationships prioritize emotional well-being and strengthen the bond between partners, allowing them to navigate challenges and changes together.
However, it’s important to set boundaries and not tolerate harmful behavior. In essence, acceptance and tolerance form the bedrock for understanding, growth, and lasting connection in thriving relationships.
Some commonly asked questions
Here are the answers to some questions that can help you understand acceptance vs tolerance in relationships better:
Can you love someone and tolerate them?
Yes, it is possible to love someone and tolerate them. Tolerance involves accepting differences and managing disagreements without letting them overshadow the love and emotional connection. While love encompasses deep affection and care, tolerance allows individuals to coexist harmoniously despite their divergent views or behaviors.
What are examples of tolerance and acceptance in relationships?
Tolerance in relationships can be seen when partners respect each other’s differing viewpoints or habits, even if they don’t fully agree. For example, one partner may tolerate the other’s preference for a certain TV show.
Acceptance is evident when partners embrace each other’s unique qualities without judgment. An example would be accepting and supporting a partner’s career change, despite the uncertainties.
Both tolerance and acceptance contribute to healthier and more fulfilling relationships.
How to be more tolerant in a relationship?
To practice tolerance in relationships, you can actively listen to your partner’s perspectives without judgment, embracing their differences. Choose empathy over criticism, respecting their individuality.
Allow room for compromise during disagreements, seeking common ground. Cultivate patience in understanding each other’s flaws and imperfections. Avoid pushing your beliefs onto them, and instead, foster an environment of open communication and acceptance.
In romantic terms, acceptance vs tolerance in relationships, each has the potential for being positive in a partnership, but they’re vastly different.
If you’re tolerating a mate’s habits or behaviors, but you’re doing so with an air of resentment, it’s unlikely you’ll become accepting at any point. You’ll more than likely grow more annoyed and frustrated as time passes.
Acceptance is more heart-based, with love for even the quirks of the partner’s personality. That doesn’t mean, at some point in time, those quirks won’t become an annoyance. These things do happen.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle Read more in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.
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