What Are You Tolerating?

What are you putting up with? What is sapping your energy day in and day out? Who or what are you simply tolerating? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and a lack of zip, handling what is bugging you can refill your tank faster than a trip to the gas station.

Tolerations are typically small things that we put up with on a daily basis that sap our energy and keep us stuck. When our attention is taken up by these little “problems” we aren’t free to just flow with the moment and we’re not open to receiving the good stuff we want in our life Handle Tolerationsbecause our energy and focus is on something we don’t want. Over time these irritations build up until they become a show-stopper or we simply blow our top because we can’t take it any more. Ever have something minor like a cat hairball on the rug or a burned out light bulb suddenly send you over the edge into a brief rage of lunacy? Most likely it is because of the compounding of little tolerations that have gotten on your nerves until you just can’t take it anymore.

Your goal is to put up with less and less. It is indeed possible to create a fairly toleration free zone around yourself. How do you do this?

Make a List

One of the things I often do early on with my clients is to have them create a toleration list. That is, make a list of all the things (large and small) that you are putting up with, that tick you off, and that bug you on a regular basis. Make this list at least 50-100 items long. They can range from the mildly annoying like a spot on the rug to an annoying co-worker to always forgetting to stock the pantry so you have ingredients when you need them. For now, don’t worry about how you’re going to resolve the irritation, just make a list of them.

If you find the task too overwhelming or if you’re having trouble creating a big enough list, consider going by category. What bugs you in your house (walk through it room by room), at work, in relationships, with your car, or in your yard. Mentally or physically walk yourself through it and then write it down!

Once you have this long list, just take a moment to notice how you feel when you look at it. Do you marvel at the fact that there are so many things that you are putting up with? Just imagine how much energy you are expending each and every day because of these things.

Get Busy Zapping Them

Once you have the list, it is time to commit to resolving them, once and for all. There is nothing as freeing and feel-good as clearing a pile of tolerations off your list. You’ll not only feel better but also be more effective and productive each and every day.

Here’s what I suggest. Set aside time (a whole day reserved to zap tolerations is best) and some money ($100-$1000 depending on your budget) to get them handled. You can approach the zapping process two ways. 1) Handle the biggest and most annoying tolerations first or 2) Tackle the largest number of irritations you can in a defined time. My personal recommendation is # 2. The more you can tackle in a short amount of time will not only free up more energy for you it will also motivate and encourage you to attack the bigger tolerations that might take more time.

For example, let’s say you have a bunch of tolerations that fall into the category of “quick hits”. Things like replacing dead light bulbs, removing stains from carpets, sewing missing buttons back on shirts, or cleaning out a closet. Move through those babies as fast as you can and get them handled. Most importantly, as you do this, ask yourself “What is the root cause that created this problem in the first place?” It is important to get to the heart of the matter and find out the source of the problem; otherwise this toleration will simply re-appear on your list in short order. That is NOT what you want. So, if the source of the burned light bulb never getting replaced problem is that you never have any space bulbs in the closet, resolve to get an ample reserve and keep it that way. Then you never have to put up with a burned out bulb again. Get the picture?

Some tolerations might take a little more work. Perhaps you are putting up with annoying behavior from a co-worker. You may need to devise a plan to confront him/her and request they engage in different behavior with you. This is certainly more scary than changing a light bulb but no less important. Before you move forth to zap tolerations like these you not only need to look at the source of the problem but also the role you played in creating the situation. Did you step over their behavior for a long time? Do you just avoid the situation which lets them know it is ok to behave that way by default? Unless you look at your role and the root cause you’ll only re-create this same type of problem somewhere else in your life.

Benefits of Handling Tolerations

The benefits of acknowledging and zapping tolerations are well worth the trouble. I know when I personally embark on this exercise I always experience at least one or more of the following benefits:

  • — More energy
  • — Less stress
  • — More ease
  • — increased productivity
  • — More time as you stop wasting it “managing” these annoying situations
  • — increased awareness of your choices and how they affect you

So, what are you waiting for? Get started zapping tolerations…

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