What are you Tolerating?



by Yesenia Cardona

Without realizing it, there is a great deal we have learned to tolerate in our lives.  These things we allow become obstacles in achieving a sense of balance and can be a driving force for unhappiness, stress and a lack of productivity.

This is a great exercise to get over these tolerations and self-inflicted roadblocks.

Make a list of all the things you are tolerating in your life.  EVERYTHING and anything you can think of.  This can be anything from that burnt out light bulb you haven’t replaced to a negative work environment.  It can be things to do around the house, people, beliefs that don’t serve you (i.e. the world is against me), situations or things that just create clutter.  Here are some examples from my own list I made recently:

  •  Garage door doesn’t work
  •  Gate does not lock
  •  High cost of cell phone bill
  •  High cost of cable
  •  Not being social enough
  •  My daughter using the car like an extra closet instead of taking things
  •  into the house
  •  My daughter not getting ready in a timely manner so she gets to school
  • Late more than I would like.
  • Anxiety I feel sometimes about the future
  • Not having any bra’s that fit properly
  • Not exercising enough

As you can imagine this list can get quite long – and that’s fine.  Why is this an important and helpful exercise to do?  Because for each thing you choose to tolerate you create a self imposed obstacle to living the kind of life you would like to.  The longer your list is the more chance you are feeling dragged down and dis-empowered.  The first step is to stop and acknowledge what it is you are tolerating.  Then you can decide what you would like to do about it and not allow these things to slow you down from achieving a desire, goal or dream you may have.

Next, when you get your list together, take a look and see if you see “themes” that you can begin to categorize.  For example from my list above I can create as follows:

House Maintenance

  •  Garage door does not work
  •  Gate does not lock


  •  High Cost of cell phone bill
  •  High cost of cable bill

Boundary Issues – Indulgent parenting

  •  My daughter using the car as an extra closet
  •  My daughter getting to school late


  •  Anxiety I feel sometimes about the future
  •  Not being social enough


  • Not having bra’s that fit properly
  • Not exercising enough

What-are-you-tolerating-articleWhen you get your list organized it’s really easy to see what you are carrying around with you everyday.  It’s all been sitting there in the back of your mind, contributing to your stress level.  Now, with this list decide what can I do right now?  Really  – RIGHT NOW.  Are burnt out light bulbs on the list and you have new ones sitting on a shelf? Go take care of it, NOW!  The computer will be right where you left it when you get back!

Make it a game, see how many you can actually get done in under 30 minutes.  The garage door not working and my gate not being lockable took the length of time it took me to email my property management company about the problems. They had someone over the next day. Done.  Meanwhile I had been “dealing ” with it for at least 4 months.  Sigh, why do we do that to ourselves?

For some of the more difficult things that may be on your list such as challenging relationships or maybe even negative self talk – you can begin to ask yourself “why am I tolerating this?”,  “How would I like to feel about this?”.   Is there one action you can take to move you in the direction you want to go in?  It does not have to be big.  It can be as easy as calling someone on the phone you have not been in touch with but want more of in your life.

Working with a Life Coach can give you additional support in gaining perspective and getting you out of the tar pit of toleration and into action towards a more joyful and fulfilling life.  It may not be as hard as you think!

Keep this list alive.  Put a reminder in your calendar every month for you to review this list and see what else you can start chipping away at. Decide clear actions you can take to overcome something you are tolerating – if you have a habit of negative self talk decide that every time you catch yourself you will replace it with saying or thinking of something you like about yourself. If you have a coach, they can help keep you accountable for what you say you are going to do or tell a friend – “If you catch me saying something negative about myself please point it out and make me tell you 3 positive things myself”.

To Review:

  • Make your list
  • Organize it by category
  • Begin taking action steps to eliminate the things you tolerate one by one

Be kind to yourself, be patient.  Rome wasn’t built overnight. Continue to add to the list as you need and work through it one by one.   Allow your list to be a reflection of your commitment to honoring yourself and being good to yourself.  With each thing you check off your list the quality of your life improves automatically. Guaranteed.

Coach Yesenia