Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘learning to live’

Thresholds of Tolerance

Have you ever thought about your threshold of tolerance? Are you satisfied with it or does it inhibit you as a person? Do you become upset over inconsequential things in life? Think of someone you know who just seems to be able to cope with one life change after another and keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny. What causes these people to have higher thresholds of tolerance? What do they know that we don’t know?

We can easily recognize when a situation develops that causes us to reach a point in which we say to ourselves – this is too much! Once we reach this point we find ways to reduce the negative energy and stress about the circumstance by using our own unique coping mechanisms such as anger, emotional outbursts, withdrawal, depression, excessive drinking, talking, eating, exercising – the list of possible coping behaviors are too numerous to list. The problem is that many times these coping mechanisms simply make our situation worse as they become habitual and the cycle continues.

Our thresholds were created based on the unconscious beliefs we learned early in life. We adopt our own unique coping mechanism due to our family background and experiences. Many times fears, beliefs and limitations are modeled and transferred from generation to generation simply because ‘this is the way it was done’ in our early environment. Often we don’t take the time to evaluate the lack of logic behind them. Sadly, lower thresholds of tolerance can hold us back from growing, doing and becoming all that we would like to be.

When we step back and observe our own behavior we may see areas that we would like to change. It takes conscious effort to make a change. Make no mistake this can be hard work but I would ask you to consider if you are worth the effort. I think you are worth it and more! Knowing that any change, in itself, can cause us discomfort we need to work at it, one step at a time and not give up. If we rush back to our place of ‘safety’ what we feel as safe is frequently little more than another limiting factor in our lives.

The good news is that we can change and expand our threshold of tolerance if we so desire. It takes work to examine our life and accept the fact that in certain areas we are not as …. (fill in the blank) as we would like to be. Once we recognize something about ourselves that we would like to change the challenge to do something about it is simply that – a challenge – that can be met and overcome if we truly want it badly enough.

When we begin to live life more consciously by honestly evaluating our various responses to new or difficult situations we short circuit the automatic response mechanisms developed from our past. We find, at first, that new vistas may not be as comfortable as we would like but as we continue to force ourselves out of our comfort zones we open up new, exciting territories for living. We become more not less.

It takes honesty, courage and desire to heighten our threshold of tolerance but it’s so worth the effort!

Have a great few days!

Forgiveness takes Work

Practicing the art of forgiveness is essential to a happier life. It is not for the faint of heart. Although it doesn’t cost any money and takes less time than perseverating on the injustices in our lives it is none-the-less a job that requires serious effort. As illogical as it sounds, however, many of us choose to use more time maintaining a list a mile long of grievances and hurts. The time spent reliving the injustices keeps us locked into a victim mentality.

Each time we remember a specific person or situation that hurt us deeply, as we mentally replay the tapes WITH THE EMOTIONAL FEELINGS ATTACHED it is, as if, the situation is happening again! The subconscious mind simply records the emotions felt at the moment. We may, in essence, live through a tragic, difficult or hurtful event millions of times in our minds. Each time, the memory of the event causes a deeper etch of pain in our minds and hearts. We continue to feel victimized.

Mentally replaying these tapes for years is not only unproductive but keeps us stuck in yesterday rather than looking forward to tomorrow. For example, I knew a person in his 60’s who continued to mention a roommate who 40 years earlier moved out and took some of his records! This may sound like a ‘light weight’ example but I use it for a purpose. Some of our ‘rememberings’ of hurtful events can begin to take on a life of their own. Whether big or small issues, they all constitute, over time, wasted energy that will leave us little more than vessels filled with hurts and grievances that we hold on to as proof that life has been unfair. Life may be many things – challenging, difficult and at times nearly impossible to comprehend but unfair- I don’t see it that way. It is just as we designed it to be no more – no less. It is what we do with the hurts and grievances that makes all the difference.

Granted, when we experience a challenging or hurtful situation we need time to process through it with someone we trust. It is important and necessary to verbalize what happened, what we learned from it and what we intend to do differently the next time a similar situation presents itself. Regardless of the time involved it is time well spent by analyzing the who, what, how and why the situation happened. Most importantly, it gives us confidence to know that we will recognize a similar situation in the future and be ready to manage it more successfully. We are changing from being a victim to circumstance to being a victor by developing our proactive problem solving skills based on our own real life examples. Therein lies the lesson of forgiveness. When we admit and take ownership for our own part in the situation we learn to forgive ourselves first then are able to apply the lesson of forgiveness to others.

Learning the art of forgiveness involves a process. It’s not simply a matter of saying to yourself that you choose to be more forgiving and then doing it. The first step is to examine – from whence you came – to unearth the beliefs behind the behavior. Your family members and close friends dealt with forgiveness in their own ways and served as examples or models to you. Before you were even aware you were internalizing their behavioral messages. It is important to consider what effect each had on your present ability to forgive. To start on the process of learning true forgiveness, make a list of the names of these people and then add the first word that comes to your mind when you think about them and how they dealt with forgiveness. As you make the list you may begin to see patterns that help you understand why you respond the way you do to issues. Keep the list for now and we will use it in subsequent blog posts as the process of learning forgiveness is further discussed.

Stay tuned, helping yourself learn true forgiveness is worth the time and effort! Make it a great few days.