The difference between acceptance and tolerance is knowing what you can change and and what you can not change.
We always hear that patience is a virtue but what really is patience? Dictionary.com gives this reference to the meaning of patience:
the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
So even though we don’t think of patience as being able to handle something that irritates us – that is just what it is. But how long does patience last? Until we lose our patience, obviously. For, if we need to be patient in a given situation than it is unlikely that we will be able to hold our composure if we had to continue to endure that situation. So patience is limited.
What about tolerance? Tolerance basically means being nice even though you don’t agree with someone or in a certain situation. Where patience deals with keeping your composure for a limited amount of time tolerance is about keeping a friendly disposition whenever you encounter the same person or situation that you don’t agree with.
Acceptance is the ultimate goal. Acceptance is allowing another to be who they are, express themselves as they wish, and live how they see fit without you holding any resentment, anger, disagreement, non-approval, fear, hate, or nonacceptance towards them. Acceptance is about allowing a situation to be as it is simply because that is how it is.
Patience – a child is screaming, your relative is telling a story, you’re in line at the store, traffic jam (these all have to do with a limited time situation that bother you but you keep your patience and get through the situation)
Tolerance – not liking someone because of their clothing, beliefs, parents, attitude, way of thinking, words, actions, etc. but willing to deal or put up with them
Acceptance – allowing another to be, think, feel, say, do, or express themselves how ever they wish; allowing a situation to occur how it does naturally; realizing that anything that happened in the past (something someone just said or an event that just occurred) has already happened and it can’t be changed (you can’t go back into the past and change it from how it happens) so you allow the past to exist as it has already unfolded.
My favorite saying is my way of making sure we are always accepting: “Human kind. Be Both.”