- The Roman shades that don’t work right.
- The car keys that are always missing.
- The friend who keeps interrupting me when I speak.
- The job I dread going to.
These are just some of the things I used to put up with in my life that were sources of stress (large and small) and negatively impacted my quality of life. Life coaches call these tolerations. I call them pains in the ass.
Trust me. This is just a miniscule sample of what used to be my very long Gotta Go or I’ll Go Crazy List. I’m happy to report that the list is shorter these days. I’ve been chipping away at it for a while – like maybe my whole adult life now that I think about it.
If the truth be told, there will be some tolerations I will never do anything about – like hairballs thrown up on the rugs. Yes, I’ll brush the cats regularly (when they permit it). Yes, I’ll use the elevated feeding station (which, believe it or not, actually helps the whole throwing up thing in general – TMI?). Yes, I’ll give the cats the supposedly yummy-tasting hairball remedy (when they permit it). And I’ll also keep on hand a good supply of pet stain remover and write off the hairball toleration as a price I’m willing to pay for sharing my home with two long-haired cats.
And, if more truth be told, letting go of some tolerations will be more a process than an event because of the nature of the toleration. I put up with wearing clothes I don’t particularly like because being overweight isn’t something I can change quickly. And I don’t have any control over clothing manufacturers who insist on dressing plus-sized women like prison matrons. (If you know a clothing manufacturer who doesn’t, for heaven’s sake let me know – please!)
Finally, some more truth be told, some tolerations I’ll do away with and pick up again, do away with and pick up again. Like my friend who interrupts me when I’m speaking. We’ve talked about it, she tries really hard not to, and she doesn’t seem capable of changing this particular trait or doesn’t want to for whatever reason that has zero to do with me and everything to do with her. Most of the time I tolerate the annoyance because I love her and value our friendship. Sometimes I back off and take time and space away from the relationship. And sometimes I just tell her to shut the f**k up, and she does.
My favorite tolerations are the little ones that are easily fixed and make a nice little difference in my day-to-day life, which is most of them. Like a hook right by the front door from which to hang car keys. I learned this one when the ex-husband continually delayed us in his hunt for the one and only set of car keys. (Don’t ask me why we only had one set. I think it was a control issue.)
And then there are the Roman shades that actually work the way they’re supposed to. Every single evening when I pull down the shades so I can feel cozy and private in my little house across the driveway from my landlords, I bless the shades and my landlady who put them up for me. (God bless a woman who knows how to handle tools. I am not one of them.) And every morning, I am filled with delight when a single slight tug is all that’s needed for the shades to glide back up and fold neatly in on themselves.
It’s so magical – right up there with drawers that automatically close without pinching fingers – that I look forward to pulling the shades up every morning. I kid you not. An everyday, ordinary act – opening up my home and myself to the world – has gone from an aggravating pain in the ass to a source of joy. And all because I decided to take action on one little item on My Gotta Go or I’ll Go Crazy List.
My only question now is why the hell didn’t I do it sooner?
Look around, right now, right where you’re sitting and reading this blog post. What are you tolerating that you could change or do away with all together? What are you waiting for? Life is short. Do it! Fewer tolerations. More joy. What’s not to like about that?