Many of us are skilled at denying and discounting what hurts us. We may endure a particular situation, telling ourselves repeatedly it’s not that bad; we shouldn’t be so demanding; it’ll change any day; we should be able to live with it; it doesn’t annoy us; the other person didn’t really mean it; it doesn’t hurt; maybe it’s just us.
We may fight and argue with ourselves about the reality and validity of our pain—our right to feel it and do something about it.
Often we will tolerate too much or so much that we become furious and refuse to tolerate any more.
We can learn to develop healthy tolerance.
We do that by setting healthy boundaries and trusting ourselves to own our power with people. We can lessen our pain and suffering by validating and paying attention to ourselves. We can work at shortening the time between identifying a need to set a boundary, and taking clear, direct action.
We aren’t crazy. Some behaviors really do bug us. Some behaviors really are inappropriate, annoying, hurtful, or abusive.
We don’t have to feel guilty about taking care of ourselves once we identify a boundary that needs to be set. Look at the experience as an experiment in owning our power, in establishing new, healthy boundaries and limits for ourselves.
We don’t have to feel guilty or apologize or explain our selves after we’ve set a boundary. We can learn to accept the awkwardness and discomfort of setting boundaries with people. We can establish our rights to have these limits. We can give the other person room to have and explore his or her feelings; we can give ourselves room to have our feelings—as we struggle to own our power and create good, working relationships.
Once we can trust our ability to take care of ourselves, we will develop healthy reasonable tolerance of others.
God, help me begin striving for healthy boundaries and healthy tolerance for myself and others.
From the book: The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series
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