What are you tolerating?
This simple question has been such an eye-opener for me. I wanted to share what it has taught me in hopes that it can help you, too.
We all have some say in regards to who is in our life and what sort of behavior we are willing to tolerate. I realize that in some situations (domestic abuse, for example) this isn’t as clear – but setting that aside, we generally have some control in our life.
I am putting the final touches on my book set to be published by the end of the year. In it, I share some information about addiction and mental health as well as share stories of recovery from 12 different women. One woman’s story discloses a personal relationship in which her boyfriend was cheating on her and using drugs. This woman was determined to give her relationship one final effort at success. She continued to put up with this crappy behavior from her boyfriend and would often complain to her friends. Then one day a brave friend said to her, “Well if you are still with him, it must be okay with you.”
Isn’t that interesting: “It must be okay with you.”
It wasn’t okay with her at all. She was miserable at home with this man. Yet, she was still with him. She was tolerating his behavior.
What are you complaining about? Are you tolerating someone or something that you aren’t okay with? How can you pivot or make a change in a positive direction?
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Sounds ridiculous right? Of course nothing changes if nothing changes.
Think about one thing in your life that is causing you stress. What keeps you awake at night? What is eating at your soul?
Do you have it? Write it down to visualize it if you need to.
Let’s think about this one thing.
What can you do about this thing? Anything? Nothing?
Let’s take an example from real life and apply it so we can see this a bit easier. Many people are out of work, most of them not by choice right now.
Is it stressful? Hell yes.
Is it scary? Hell yes.
Is it something we can control? No.
What can we control? Think about this for a minute. If we can’t control the fact that our business MUST be closed, what can we do about it?
1. We can feel all the crappy feelings. You know, the sadness, the despair, the “why me’s?”, the anxiety, and the fear. That’s completely understandable and no one would say you were wrong for feeling that way. Personally, I’m a bit stressed out about it and I still have some work.
2. We can cope in crappy ways. Drinking, smoking, complaining, and laying around. Again, all understandable and no on would blame you for any of these.
We could try two opposite approaches.
3. We can feel all the positive feelings. You know – we are alive and breathing. We are healthy. We have our family and even our furry littles to cuddle with. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. We can look forward to days when we are all together again. Hopefully hugging because hugs are THE BEST!
4. We can cope in healthy ways. Exercise is huge – it doesn’t have to be anything record-breaking. Take a walk or a bike ride. Take a ride in the car with the windows down. Visit a state or national park. Dance in the rain. Try something new – take an online class, learn to crochet, or play an instrument. You’d be amazed at all the things Google can teach us!
Don’t get me wrong. I wallow in the first two from time to time. And, that’s okay. I’m not perfect and I don’t expect any of us to be. Have your hard days but embrace your good days. Be graceful with yourself – we are all human.
Focus on what you control which are the items above: How do you feel? And how do you cope?
Which are you going to choose? Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes. We control our thoughts which drive our emotions. If you think crappy thoughts you will feel like crap. In moments of light (when you are feeling neutral or positive), think good thoughts and you will inevitably feel better.
Focus on what you can change. If it is in our life than we must be okay with it. If not, then pivot.