Most of us have areas in our lives where we’re tolerating things. And we get praised for that, right? We hear, “Suck it up! No pain, no gain! It could be worse!” But any time you’re tolerating something, it causes a slow, steady leak of your energy. It keeps you from being your brightest, best, most vital self.
At first blush, tolerating may seem to resemble acceptance. It’s actually the opposite. When we choose to fully accept the truth of a negative situation so that we can learn and grow from it, we allow the unwanted circumstance to move. We’re giving ourselves fully to the emotion, and that’s what keeps the e (energy) in motion. Tolerating is just a more subtle form of denying or repressing our emotions and it keeps unwanted situations rigidly stuck in place.
Here’s an example: My Juicy Joy student Lanie had a perfectly nice husband. But early on in their marriage, something changed—something that caused this marriage to fall short, in a significant way, of what Lanie had always imagined her marriage would be.
The specifics about what took place are not important. What’s important is that throughout Lanie’s life she had held a vision about what constituted a good marriage, and her marriage did not match her vision. She began tolerating aspects of her life with her husband. And since tolerating has a very specific effect on our energetic systems, it caused a slow, steady leak of her energy.
Now pretend a marriage is a bicycle tire. Early in Lanie’s marriage, the tire of her relationship sprung a leak. If Lanie had been living as her true, authentic self, committed to her own Juicy Joy, she would have addressed this leak, immediately, and done whatever needed to be done to repair it.
But she wasn’t living from that place. She was a people-pleaser. She didn’t like to make waves. The bottom line was: she didn’t feel she’d be loved if she made waves. She didn’t feel deserving of love unless she put other people’s needs above her own.
So the tire kept leaking air—her marriage kept leaking energy—year after year, as she tolerated this marriage that was good in many ways, but was truly not in keeping with her most cherished feelings about what a marriage should be.
And I want to point something out here. There is no right or wrong when it comes to what people should expect to get out of a marriage or a relationship. Lanie’s husband thought their marriage was great—his expectations of marriage were being met perfectly. You couldn’t blame him for making it a bad marriage for Lanie; he was doing his part by being clear about his desires and making sure they were satisfied. But Lanie was not doing her part. She had not yet stepped into her glorious, gutsy self. So year after year, this slow leak continued.
One day, Lanie realized the tire had gone totally flat. She panicked. And she started pumping air into the tire.
“Honey, we have to get into marriage counseling.”
“I’ve signed us up for a couple’s retreat.”
“I’ve signed us up for another couples’ retreat.”
“I’ve signed us up for a sexuality retreat.”
Lanie kept pumping, pumping, pumping air into the tire. Her husband was freaked out now too, so he was pumping with her. It didn’t seem to Lanie he was ever pumping quite as frantically as she was, but he was pumping.
And as you’d imagine, with all that air going into the tire, it started to inflate. It didn’t ever get nearly as firm as it was before the leak, but it made substantial improvement. And Lanie said, “Whew. Thank God, ‘cause I’m exhausted.” It was a lot of work, all that pumping.
But guess what. As soon as Lanie stopped pumping like a maniac, it became painfully obvious that the leak was still there. The tire had been flat for so long that it had become irreparable, and all the air they had pumped into it leaked right back out. There’s nothing that can save a bike tire at that point, and ultimately there was nothing that could save Lanie’s marriage. Relationships are energetic systems, and they need a constant flow of energy to survive. Without that flow, they die.
To keep a relationship strong—any kind of relationship—both people need to be ready to pump up the tire and seal off any leaks as soon as they’re detected. Because even if a bike tire is half-way flat, or almost flat, you can usually pump it back up and be fine, right? But once it’s completely flat and you’ve been riding around on it that way for a while . . . then your only options are to replace the tire, or to ride around for the rest of forever on an empty, spent rim. And some people do choose that second option, but it’s not on the menu board for a Juicy-Joyful life.
What Are You Tolerating?
1. Divide your life into several different categories, however that makes the most sense to you. (example: Career, Family, Romantic Partnership, Hobbies)
2. Looking at each area separately, ask yourself: “Are the circumstances of this area of my life a match to the energy of who I know myself to be at my innermost core?”
3. Considering the answers to those questions, next ask yourself, “What are the circumstances of my life that I am tolerating?”
Did you come up with anything? Most of us have a few places where our circumstances don’t match up with our truest selves. Our lives are works in progress, always. It wouldn’t be any fun if we had the finished product already, and we were done with all our evolving, right? But sometimes we find a lot.
Don’t judge yourself if you’ve found many areas where you’re tolerating circumstances, and don’t feel pressure to remedy them all at once. It’s abysmally common in our culture to lose touch with what’s real and important for us. Awareness is the first, all-important step. Just making a clear decision that you are going to look for ways to be more true to yourself will point you in the right direction.
But this is important: Once you’ve plugged up an energy leak with the clear decision to stop tolerating something, you must expect and allow the better something to come in. Definitively taking that stand for yourself will unleash Universal support that can appear so uncanny you might dismiss it as too good to be true.
It’s not. The Universe was waiting for you to grow a pair so that it could swoop in with these precise coincidences and synchronicities to put you on Easy Street. Watch for tiny signs that the Universe is directing you toward your dreams, and wildly celebrate every one. Trust them, believe in them, and give them each a happy dance.
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