For quite some time now, a lot has been said about how important it is to be tolerant. This is something that someone is likely to have heard if they follow the mainstream media or listen to what politicians have to say, for instance.

It is as though tolerance is the ultimate western value - a value that overshadows every other. The ideal, then, is going to be for someone to be tolerant at all times, and to do what they can to let go of their need to control what people can or can’t do.

Out of Balance

But, while being tolerant can sound wonderful, it doesn’t take much deliberation to see that there is a dark side to it. When someone is tolerant it means that they accept everything, which shows that they are amoral.

A moral human being wont tolerate everything; just as a moral society won’t tolerate certain things. And, while this can sound negative, it will protect the rights of the people in the long run.

Moving On

With that aside, what is strange about all this is that it is not uncommon for the people who talk about tolerance to be incredibly intolerant. Someone like this is then going to be in a position where they say all the right things, yet their behaviour won’t match up with what they preach.

There are people like this on mainstream TV, in the education system, and at demonstrations. This is then something that is taking place in just about area of life and even at places that are supposed to set an example.


If one was to find someone who says one thing, but does another and pointed out what is taking place, they probably wouldn’t get very far. One might be met with a wall of denial and they might even end up being verbally abused.

Or, they could deny what has been said and end up trying to justify their behaviour. It could then be said that the reason why they can’t be honest with another person about what is going on is because they are unable to be honest with themselves.

Their Reality

When someone has the tendency to wax lyrical about tolerance but their behaviour is rarely, if ever, in sync with what they say, it is likely to be due to the identity that they have created. While this identity will set them up to see themselves as supremely tolerant, it will also have caused them to disconnect from reality and themselves.

Therefore, the identity that they have formed won’t allow them to face reality; no, it will have stopped them from being able to face it. And, in their version of reality, they will be an evolved and level-headed human being.

A Mismatch

Based on the identity that they have created, and how they perceive reality, it is not going to be possible for them to accept that they are hypocrites. Anything that goes against the view that they have of themselves as tolerant beings will be filtered out.

The time and energy that they put into cracking down on people who are intolerant will validate what they believe about themselves. Consciously, they can tell themselves that this proves how tolerant they are.

Inner Conflict

Nevertheless, if they were able to let go of the false-self that they have created and to get in touch with their true feelings, they would be in for a big shock. They would probably realise that the reason why they feel the need to spend so much time trying to change others is because of what they are projecting onto them.

The intolerance that they see in these people is likely to be a reflection of the parts of themselves that are too unbearable for them to tolerate. The trouble is that as they are unaware of these parts of themselves, it causes them to believe that it is the external world that needs to change.

An Unconscious Life

Their conscious mind can make it hard for them to see what is going on; due to what is going through their mind and what they say to others. They will be focused on what they are doing to put an end to intolerance and the types of people they associate with, for instance, thereby allowing them to stay in this deluded state.

Until the time comes when they are able to detach from what is taking place in their head and to get touch with what is taking place in their body, they will continue to try to change their own shadow. Once they can own their own stuff and begin to work through it, it will give them the chance to demonstrate real tolerance.


Joining some kind of movement and trying to change others can be very tempting to someone who feels powerless, unimportant and worthless. Being part of a group can allow them to feel powerful, important and righteous.

Behaving in this way will allow them to keep their emotional wounds at bay, but what it won’t do is allow them to truly grow and develop. Instead of making the world a better place, they will simply be adding even more drama to it.

Author's Bio: 

Teacher, Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand nine hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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