What Are You Putting Up With?

Are you fed up, frustrated or tired?

Something nagging at you or draining you?

Are you putting up with stuff that consistently pisses you off?

Got the goat, moved it into the spare room and now cleaning up after it?

It’s funny how these things can creep up on you isn’t it? (Apart from the goat-getting that is, the smell kinda gives the game away on that one.)

Things can be peachy one day, then the next thing you know you’re tetchy, knackered and just wanting people to shut up and get out of your way already.

Tolerations drain you gradually but markedly

Tolerations are those things in your environment that drain you or divert you unnecessarily. They’re the things you think you should put up with, either because it’s easier that way or you just accept them as “the way things are“.

A leaky tap. A cheap and uncomfortable office chair. A partner who puts you down. A cupboard full of cakes and salty snacks. A friend who sabotages. Untouched paperwork. Nagging back pain. A noisy neighbour. An unsupportive boss. No creative outlet.

There’s no doubt about it, with an environment around you that’s filled with tolerations, your quality of life is going to suck more than a Dyson in a quantum singularity.

That’s a lot of suckiness.

Tolerations are a consistent drain on your focus and energy, which in turn means you’ll be less able to think deliberately and clearly about your wants and choices.

So you slip into living your life by default

And as you know, living by default is not how you get to put your dent into anything.

It’s by exerting a little effort to reduce, eliminate or manage your tolerations that you get to create an environment that adds to your sense of self rather than taking away from it. Your environment starts to breathe life into who you are and what you want, rather than strangling the life out of you.

So, how about giving this your best shot?

  1. What is there around you that you’re been putting up with? It might be something that you know is draining you, something that’s been frustrating you or something that you’ve been avoiding. Look through what you have at home, at work, among your friends, with your partner, in your finances, concerning your health or even among your spiritual beliefs to find one thing that you’ve been putting up with that’s been draining or diverting you.
  2. You can do something to fix a leaky tap, but you can’t do much to change the weather. If your toleration is something you have direct control over, what one action could you take that will positively impact it? Can you make a call, have a conversation, put a plan together, set a new commitment or take another action that will either reduce, eliminate or manage this toleration?
  3. If your toleration is something you don’t have direct control over (like the weather, the financial markets or what someone else thinks), what do you need to change in order to be okay with it? What’s another way of looking at it that doesn’t drain you?
  4. Looking at your answer for steps 3 or 4, what will you do today?

Let me know in the comments what toleration you want to do something about and the action you’ll commit to…

  • It makes so much sense, thank you so much. Im going to start with the easy stuff, things that ive known for a while that i shouldnt be tolerating. Then i’ll work up to embracing or changing the big scary things (ive never been to Cuba!)….here goes

    • Responsibilities can be tolerations, yes. Things like work, bills and family can fall into that bucket sometimes, and there aren’t always things you can do to get rid of them (unless you move to Cuba, stop paying your bills and change your name).

      So in these situations – where you can’t necessarily take a direct step to manage, reduce or eliminate them – it’s about changing how you perceive them and how you integrate them into your life. I hate it when the word “responsibility” comes with a weight that makes you sigh – not a great place to be.

      It’s not easy, and it’s something I have to practice as much as anyone else, but making a choice not to fight against those things, to work with them, to engage with them and to even be grateful for them – that’s a pretty bloody wonderful opportunity.

      You’ve got to love the hell you’re in before you can meaningfully move forwards. (Or sometimes, remind yourself of what it meant to you in the first place).

      And as for what’s left to work with once tolerations stop having that kind of power over you – that’s where you get to make stuff up. You get to fill space with things that make you smile from the inside out, or you get to be curious about what some of those things might be.

      In fact, sometimes this gentle curiosity about what else might be out there, what might nourish you or what might make you feel like you can also be a great strategy for managing your tolerations. The more nourished you feel, the more able you are to see what matters, and the more ready you are to make choices.

      Make any sense?

  • Funny isn’t it, (or not really, actually) when we start to look around from this viewpoint and realize just how many things we’re tolerating that are truly within our control to change. Why do we do it, Steve?

    I constantly battle with my food choices, and I’ve used moving to eastern Europe as an excuse to go completely off the rails and adopt a “when in Rome” attitude towards my diet: bread, cheese, cured meats, more bread, pastries, bread. I know how good I look, feel and perform when I eat well…yet for some reason I tolerate this because it’s easier. Oh, and tastes good.

    Lots of work to do here….

    • I love the whole bread, cheese and wine thing too – believe me! When you’re in a new place I think it’s great to eat the local stuff and enjoy what you’re eating, and I always think that you really discover a place through its food.

      But I think you’re right that there’s a balance to be struck – enjoy the foods that you enjoy (I could never give those things up completely) but balance it with some healthier stuff and whatever else constitutes “health”.

      Sometimes, the toleration you need to deal with is believing things need to be a certain way, and using that belief as a stick to beat yourself up…

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}