No one seems to have enough time for anything or anyone nowadays. We tell our peers that we don’t have time to deal with the matter at hand because we have more important matters that require our attention. This may be true… But probably not. If I truly wanted to do something despite having to study for three exams and two quizzes, I would make time for it (goodbye beauty sleep). The issue isn’t with the amount of time we have (although, maybe it is, if you lack good time management), it’s the amount of patience we hold. Time is just a very common excuse that people tell so they can say “it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I simply can’t”. In reality, we just don’t have enough patience to deal with other people and their problems because they are impeding our own efforts by “slowing us down”. Hence, patience is a virtue, and rightly so. However, I find there is something else that I should discuss because it’s arguably more relevant than patience, and that is the issue of tolerance.

Traditionally, the United States has been referred to as a “melting pot” whose inhabitants come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. This metaphor signifies the assimilation of cultures, which is clearly not the case as we’ve seen in South Florida. We are a multicultural nation that is better illustrated by a “salad bowl” where ingredients are mixed together in one bowl but still retain their distinct characteristics. I would go to Miami where it is heavily influenced by Spanish culture and see advertisements in Spanish and speak to people working in restaurants who are not fluent in English. Yet, when I return home just 20 minutes away, there would be no trace of the same Spanish influence. This divide can also be seen throughout the United States between different states. Even if you decide to stay in one place where it is predominantly one background/culture, it is inevitable that you will have to work or negotiate with someone from a different background/culture. Thanks to globalization, we are far more connected with the rest of the world than ever before.

Tolerance is the ability to accept or endure someone else’s opinion or behavior even though you don’t necessarily agree with it. The United States is a place where its citizens are entitled to the freedom of speech. This right allows us to voice our opinions (popular or not), which has sparked many heated debates on social media that turned into ugly arguments. It is also on social media where our lack of tolerance really shines because we can hide behind a computer screen. People can argue about anything: politics, gender roles, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, diet, and even something small like the “right” makeup brush to use when applying eyeshadow. And that’s what it really comes down to — being right or better.

The need to be right about something or to feel like you’re better than someone else stems from our pride. Granted, you should be proud of yourself and your accomplishments, but it won’t benefit you (or others) to let your pride define you. It lowers your tolerance, and can potentially harm your relationship with others. Rest assured that tolerance does not need to equate to absolute silence. You may feel strongly about a particular subject, and run into someone who feels otherwise. You may start discussing the subject and get into a heated debate. However, once you realize that you are attacking the person and not the subject itself anymore, you need to stop. By increasing your level of tolerance and remaining proactive in your discussions, you will make a lot more friends than enemies (or at least keep the friends you already have). It is a big world out there, so you never know who will be the one to help you later in life.