In my 20’s I hung with this guy that was often critical, judgmental and not really enjoyable to be with. It was challenging being around him, but I chose to hang out with him because I felt his good heart beneath his shitty attitude.
When we were hanging out and things didn’t go his way or if I would do something he didn’t like he would lob personal insults; and if I argued back with him, he would verbally attack me immediately.
So why did I take his abuse? For reasons unknown to me at the time, I tolerated his rude, judgmental and unkind behavior. Thinking about it now, it was pretty crazy that I tolerated someone treating me that way.
The truth is, the unkind, critical guy was living inside of me, and it was me! When I made a mistake and screwed something up I would slam myself with insults. If I saw someone more successful than I am, I would put myself down to drive the point home of how I was “less than” him. If I felt sad I would judge myself as weak. Anytime there was an opportunity to find something wrong with myself, I would.
I know many of you do this as well, you don’t give yourself a break, and you’re relentlessly hard on yourself. You tolerate a harsh inner critic.
One reason I tolerated this unfriendly behavior to myself, is the same reason that someone stays in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship; because it’s what we know even if it’s unpleasant. We tolerate things because it’s our home base and comfort zone. As we become increasingly accustomed to something, our threshold for suffering increases and we get stuck.
Framing the unhealthy and painful things in your life as “things you tolerate” can give you different perspective.
What, in your life RIGHT NOW are you tolerating? What behaviors or opinions are you tolerating? What choices are you making that decrease your vitality and aliveness?
Have you been tolerating not feeling healthy or poor eating habits?
Smoking tobacco (even though you hate doing it)? Not asking that girl out on a date because you tolerate the fear? Telling yourself you’re not worthy of that raise?
Using my metaphorical story, maybe it’s time to tell that internal nasty friend, it’s time for him to go.
It’s time to start being less tolerant for the things that make you suffer.
It seems insane what we are willing to tolerate, right?
One simple practice I use (when I’m alone somewhere) is to yell “Stop” I will no longer tolerate this behavior or these thoughts, I yell “stop and be gone” I’m done with you. I’ll do this several times a day as needed.
This is ultimately an awareness practice, I always advocate for self-compassion, but it is also beneficial to get a little wrathful to stop the toleration.
Bring awareness to what you’re tolerating and put a stop to being tolerant of your toleration.