Having focused on elements of self-acceptance during May, today I’m flipping it around to look at what we tolerate rather than think, do and feel as our whole self. 

When we feel uncomfortable in our own skin, that we don’t fit in our surroundings or the conventional culture or norms we live, love and work in, it can be challenging to accept ourselves, as worthy and of value in the world, or in holding fast to our principles and boundaries.

So what kinds of things do we tolerate instead of discovering who we can become and living as ourselves?

1.) Comparing ourselves to others

Success, happiness, recognition and a sweep of other measures can be used to observe the lives of others and decide they are somehow better than us. Scrolling through your Instagram stories of glossy images, secrets shared in the coffee queue, watching a junior deliver with a confidence you struggle to feel and the like can all feel like ways we are not good enough.

We tolerate these comparisons we make, instead of taking a long hard look at the reality in front of us. The filters applied to a photo, what’s left out of a story or the panic or dread inside of our colleagues. 

That leads me neatly to…….

2.) Others’ opinions of us

From our youngest memories, we recall spiteful comments in the playground, a teacher telling us off for not falling in line or a parent’s disappointment in us taking a different path to the expected one. 

We take these opinions as wisdom, as fact, as truth. Then we add meaning to them and let them spirally away in our heads and hearts. We allow them to become the filters we judge ourselves, our actions, our character and our choices by.

It’s not just their opinions we tolerate…..

3.) The wishes of others over our own

Ever sat through a play or meal which you didn’t enjoy, instead of saying you’d prefer a different cuisine or declining the invite. Finding the courage to risk conflict or rejection, we adopt the “Good Girl” approach – we seek to please to feel a level of approval and belonging, even if temporary.

Each “yes” erodes a little more of our self-acceptance and esteem.

4.) Accommodating people with who we can never be our authentic selves

You know who I mean. The ones who stop us in our tracks with an unwelcome point of view or opinion that crosses our values, our beliefs or our way of being. They block us from feeling joy and expressing our thoughts, feelings and desires.

Finding our tribe, the people who light us up and relish in our unique strengths as much as holding us with compassion and encouragement can be tricky. So we are overly accommodating and stick around some people for longer than we should.

5.) Focusing on the past 

Our history can become a reason not to move forward. We allow our negative experiences and failures, real or otherwise, to reduce our courage to try new paths and friendships. 

We sit in unprocessed emotions. We doubt our abilities and question our motivation. We may even sabotage our efforts and thus prove that our past outcomes will be our future outcomes. 

With doubts and no self-belief, we can never feel the strength to achieve a future where we thrive as our whole selves. 

Linked to this….

6.) Procrastination and inaction

If we’re uncertain about how or what, we should do, procrastination pops up.  If we’re uncertain about how our actions will be received, procrastination pops up. If we’re uncertain about how we’ll feel if we succeed, procrastination pops up.

Avoidance, claiming that we’re too busy or don’t have the necessary resources, and not holding our vision’s priorities effectively all create inaction.

That means nothing changes. We tolerate our own excuses for not moving forward.

My list could go on……not appreciating our small steps, overlooking our true friends, letting bad habits continue, naysayers and energy vampires, grudges or perfectionism, ill suiting workplaces or roles, bullies for bosses, guilt and shame for who we are.

Showing tolerance at times can be a graceful consideration – a compassionate act towards a slow-moving grandparent crossing the road that stops you driving on, stepping aside to allow someone else in front of us or listening to a friend our their heart out and not jumping in with our anger or solutions.

Showing too much to others and to ourselves keeps us rooted in self-doubt, giving our Inner Critic voice to tell us we don’t deserve better, we don’t warrant belonging and that our brilliance isn’t welcome. 

In your reflective practices, as you connect with Source, I invite you to explore your own tolerance – where does it support your values and vision? Can you leverage this to build greater self-acceptance? Conversely, where are you too tolerant? What can you do to recognise those moments to change your reaction?

This forms part of my journaling and surrendering to mediation, as someone who feels she’s an odd one out in many ways, and in coaching women who know life, work and being themselves could hold more joy if they were their whole self. If I can be of any help to you, I’m in the Haven and of course on email.