Want More Happiness? Examine What You Tolerate

Examine What You Tollerate
Image: Ion Chiosea on 123rf

“Examine what you tolerate. What you put up with you end up with. What you allow continues. Reevaluate the costs and your worth.”

Karen Salmansohn

Have you continued to tolerate unsatisfying situations? Perhaps you’ve stayed too long in a job you hate or in a relationship that has run its course. Have you ever asked yourself why?

On the surface, you may tell yourself the time isn’t right, you’ve invested too much time, or you may rationalize that your situation is not so bad. But often, after probing deeper, people uncover the true reasons for tolerating less than they deserve. Some of those reasons include:

  • Lack of confidence in their abilities
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success (e.g., fear of how life will change: new responsibilities, other people’s expectations, being in the spotlight, etc.)
  • Concerns about what others will think
  • Concerns about disappointing or hurting other people (e.g., a parent, romantic partner, roommate, boss, business partner, etc.)
  • Concerned that setting boundaries will upset other people

Resolving unsatisfying situations does not involve changing other people. The solution comes from changes within yourself. While you cannot control the people who surround you, you can control whom you choose to be around, how you interact with them, the boundaries you set and enforce, and whether you remain engaged at all.

So if you notice a pattern of staying involved in unsatisfying situations, examine your reasons for remaining engaged in them. The true reasons may surprise you. Then direct your attention to what is under your control: The power to choose what you will and will not tolerate.


Published by A. Irvin

Dr. Angela Irvin is a clinical psychologist and mental health educator. Her clinical specialties include forensics, trauma, and personality-related issues. She is also an expert on cultural facets of mental health relating to race, gender, and class. As a mental health educator and writer, she emphasizes research-based information that promotes holistic wellness.

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