I’ve seen powerful shifts in behavior occur when a client gets honest about what they are tolerating. Creating a list of tolerations might sound like an invitation to rant, but there is a difference. When people whine and complain about what they don’t like about their lives – it is usually not productive. Many times a rant is misdirected at people who have no power to help change the situation. When we don’t like something at work, we complain to our spouse, when we don’t like something at home, we complain to our friends or coworkers. This type of rant isn’t helpful, because there is no real intention to change. You are just dragging someone else into your problem.
Tolerations drain energy and this affects our bigger goals. When we do become ready to change, a toleration list is an empowering tool. Here are some tips for creating your list.
- Set aside 20 or 30 minutes to brainstorm. You don’t have to be committed to making any changes at this point. The goal is simply to identify and acknowledge things and situations that are bothering you.
- Give yourself permission to rant. Be specific, but not overly judgmental of others.
- Start writing. Don’t worry about categorizing or prioritizing. Keep asking, “What is bugging me? What is incomplete? What have I been putting off?”
- Keep writing until you feel “empty”.
- Review your list. You might share it with a coach or a close friend. Ask yourself some questions. What did you learn? What can you address immediately? Are there any tolerations that you are unwilling to address at this time?
Just doing the exercise can restore a healthy sense of control. Even if you don’t take immediate action, writing it all down makes in manageable for your brain. Some tolerations are fairly straightforward, and can be converted to a “to do” list. Others can be more complex. Tolerations more relational in nature like: “I hate it when my spouse (fill in the blank) are more complex and require a strategy and some sensitivity for an ideal outcome. Still, the awareness that it is something you are tolerating is valuable information and allows you to move towards change in a healthy way.
So, go ahead and rant! Not all of your tolerations will be addressed immediately, but you are creating awareness and taking the first step towards a more authentic enjoyable life!
What’s the first thing on your list that you can cross off today?