It's a simple question. And you probably know the answer. But you don't want to go there. But first, what does it mean to "tolerate" something? By definition, if you are tolerating something, it is a negative in your life. You are "putting up with it," and there is no positive feedback loop. We don't have to tolerate things we love, things that are good for us, positive interactions and actions - we enjoy them, they feed us, and we get back from them.
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Okay, so what are you tolerating? Sometimes this question opens up a big can of angry worms. That is not the goal here!
Here's one scenario: You start to list all of your grievances with everyone else in your life: your husband who doesn't listen to you, your kids who don't appreciate you, your boss who always yells at you. "Dammit! Why do I let all of these things go on?" You get pissed off - at the "offenders," and then you start to feel like a victim, and/or you get angry at yourself for tolerating all the abuse you have identified. This approach creates a vicious cycle of victimization and anger. It fills your brain with chemicals that won't allow you to think clearly.
Stop. Look. Listen.
Remember that lesson when you were a kid? Very useful now!
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Stop: Let's start from a place of curiosity. This doesn't have to be an anger-fest. This is simply an exercise in taking charge, in being pro-active in your life. Breathe. Set the intention that you will honestly look at what you are tolerating. Promise yourself that when you feel "heavy" emotions, you will breathe through them, knowing you are taking a step in a very positive direction.
Look: At what, you ask? Your life. Where do you stop? Where does it get uncomfortable? When you start to list the things you are tolerating, from the mundane to the profound, try to be as objective as you can. Some of the things you realize you have been putting up with will hit you harder than others. Tolerating wearing ripped underwear is not going to carry the weight of someone crossing all kinds of boundaries with you. List everything. Everything: from having a messy bedroom that creates a chaotic energy to your employees who don't show up on time. It can be an unhealthy lifestyle or having to walk the dog every day. Everything that you tolerate.
Pretend you are an outside observer looking at your life.
Listen: Now, once you've made your list, go inside yourself. Listen to what your heart is telling you. Why are you tolerating these things? Where do you not feel empowered or deserving enough to have the difficult but empowering conversation, empty the chaotic closets or keep your books organized? What are the messages you are hearing? Is it self-sabotage? Are you perpetuating the victimization that everyone is doing it to you as opposed to your not having the chutzpah to speak up, delegate, dig in or generally do what you need to do to move forward in your life? Are you asking for help? If not, why not?