We speak so much of a need for tolerance. This is a first step, yes a good step if it means in your tolerance of me you will not commit meanieness against me, you will leave me at peace to live my life. But tolerance is only the first step. True harmony begins with acceptance. In tolerance there are still judgements, still room for meanieness because tolerance can have limits. Tolerance can be grudging. Tolerance can be full of fear. Acceptance goes deeper.
Acceptance says “Yes, you are different from me or you live in ways I do not understand or choose for myself, but that’s okay. We are neither of us causing harm nor committing meanieness. We are on our own paths. Please live your life alongside mine in peace.” There is no fear or judgment in acceptance. There is no room for meanieness or harm in acceptance. You simply see what is there to the best of your ability, acknowledge it, bless it and continue on your way. The next step after acceptance is love, but that’s a pondering for another time.