Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a world more tolerant than the one he lived in.
It is possible to change how we treat each other - it begins with tolerance.
Text: Lyndsay Jensen
I look back at last years Editors notes, and I realised how different life was and reflected on what has changed. The simplicity of life, and how I took things for granted has made me look at life in a different way today. With this virus still very much in front of us, dealing with a stressed economy, and now unspeakable acts of human rights violations in the USA - we have to ask ourselves the question, are we really evolving as humans - or are we devolving?
International Day for Tolerance is usually celebrated in November - but I couldn't think of a more critical time to remind ourselves of tolerance at a time where polarisation is becoming the norm across the globe, alongside outright injustice and disregard for individual rights. Tolerance is defined as a positive effort to understand another's beliefs and habits without necessarily agreeing with them.
Learn about other cultures
As internationals, we have to learn to adapt and "fit in" with our new lives in Denmark, this can be hard - but not impossible. While you might discover new habits and traditions that you have never heard of before, or may even disagree with, this is a big part of what tolerance is about. Embracing the beauty of diversity will perhaps end up surprising you by the number of similarities different cultures share.
Looking at it from both sides
Challenge your mind. We often get stuck in a certain rhythm or mindset that repeats what we already believe in, or what we think we know. To approach the world with tolerance requires recognising that different opinions, no matter how difficult it is to accept, exist and are allowed to live. Thinking about non-familiar ideas is a great way to practice tolerance.
Try to empathise
Empathy is about putting yourself in someone else's shoes. To truly understand where someone else is coming from requires looking at the world from another person's perspective. Actively listen to another person, even if their opinions are on the other end of the spectrum. Ask questions if you don't understand, and keep asking until you can get a better idea. Accept that others' can legitimately hold opinions and empathise with their viewpoint as much as possible.
Use "I" instead of "You"
In everyday conversations, try to use the phrase "I" instead of "you". Language does make a difference! When we speak using "I" statements, we are taking responsibility for our own emotions and opinions. Identifying that our feelings are ours, rather than addressing or assuming what someone else is feeling or thinking is essential. Perception is reality, meaning that when it comes to non-universal beliefs, there is no "fundamental truth" to be shared and accepted by all. Each and every one of us filter the world through our own lens. So keeping this in mind when we communicate, is core to being tolerant.
We are more alike then we realise
In the middle of these trying times, a big part of tolerance is reminding ourselves how much we still have in common. No, not just physically, but also in that we are humans striving for a better world, who believe in equality and share common values. We all love the beautiful natural wonders of our planet - more than ever before. We share a rich history of cultures around the world - how lucky of we! Let's remember our shared humanity and lead our lives accordingly with tolerance.
With so many public holidays during the summer months, it's sometimes easy to forget important days. 5th June is Constitution day Grundlovsdag, this day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Danish Constitution which established Denmark as a constitutional monarchy. Let's not forget our dads either as we celebrate Fathers Day! We wish you another happy long weekend, and remind you to just be that little bit nicer to everyone - a smile costs you nothing.