How do you decide what you will and won’t tolerate? This is such a great question to ask ourselves. By now you know I talk a lot about adults get to think, say, and do anything they want, and you get to choose how you react. I also talk a lot about first cleaning up your thinking. Realizing that someone else can’t make you feel or act a certain way. It is always your thoughts about what the other person is saying or doing that has you feeling and acting how you are feeling and acting. So here is the question: When you have done all your work to take responsibility for and clean up your thinking, how will you decide what you will and won’t tolerate from someone else? How will you decide if you want to be in a relationship with this person?
Here is the great news: you get to decide if you continue in a relationship with that person or if you end the relationship or if you set healthy boundaries (read my blog on Boundaries) for that relationship. Often, we mistakenly believe that someone must have done something wrong or something bad must happen in order for us to end a relationship. We think we must blame the other person and make them wrong in order to justify our ending our relationship with them. That just not true.
Imagine that you can take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and action. You don’t have to blame them or make them wrong. Your thinking is clean. Now you can just decide to end the relationship because that is what you decided to do.
I learned an exercise a long time ago at a Landmark Forum called Chocolate, Vanilla Choose. You imagine that someone is offering you a choice of one of two ice cream cones. The say: Chocolate or Vanilla Choose. You respond: “I choose (fill in the flavor) because (fill in the reason why)”. When I first did this exercise, I responded “I choose chocolate because I love chocolate. Wrong! Surprisingly the correct answer is: “I choose chocolate, because I choose chocolate.” The lesson is we don’t have to have a reason. We don’t have to make a situation or person wrong or bad, we can just choose it or not choose it.
When we clean up our thinking we can get to a place where we are choosing without blaming. I am divorced. When my first husband and I decided to end our marriage, we told everyone it was amicable. I don’t know how it was for him. But for me, I was pretending on the outside while blaming him for the divorce on the inside. It took me years to take responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions in our marriage and our divorce. He and I have an adult son. I could see that my thoughts feelings and actions where hurting our son, my ex-husband and his wife and me and my second husband. Once I took responsibility and cleaned up my thinking, I called my ex-husband, owned my behavior, apologized and asked if he and his wife would be interested in working with me and my husband to create a peaceful, loving harmonious family for us and our adult son. My ex and his wife said yes, and we all went to work on that goal. I knew we had succeeded when the four of us were standing together at our son’s wedding reception and my son pointed to all four of us saying “My parents (all four of us) come toast with me to my marriage.” My husband and I consider my ex and his wife some of our best friends. In fact, we just had dinner with them last night. I really enjoy my ex. I really enjoy his wife. I am so happy they found each other. They are such a good fit. My ex and I were not a good fit. No blame, it just wasn’t a fit. My second husband and I are a good fit. I am so blessed!
It can be the same for you. Clean up your thinking, take responsibility, then choose. Do you want to be in a relationship with this person or not? No blame, no shame, no trying to control or change the other person. Choose and then have a loving conversation with that person about your decision. You can like or even love someone and choose not to be in a relationship with them.
The next question is: What if you choose to be in a relationship with this person and there is a behavior that you don’t want to tolerate? This is when you set a healthy boundary (read my blog on Boundaries). I have someone in my life that drinks and drives. One time, I didn’t realize they had been drinking and I got into the car they were driving. At that moment I wasn’t prepared, so I held on for dear life and prayed. Once out of the car, I set a boundary. I will not ride as a passenger when that person is driving ever again. I’m not going to try to determine if they are drunk. I am just choosing to not ride with them. A boundary is something we set for ourselves. It isn’t an ultimatum that we issue to the other person. It is a pre-decided action that we will take. If they do or say ________________________, I will do _________________________. The action is for us and not directed at them. In my situation it looks like this. The person askes if I want to ride with them. My answer is “No thanks, I will meet you there.” Or “No, thanks, I prefer to take my own car.” Notice my answer is not: “No because you drive drunk. It isn’t safe to ride with you.” My boundary is for and about me. It isn’t about blaming them.
When we stop trying to blame, shame, control or change others and instead take time to clean up our own thinking, it becomes a matter of choosing what and who we will tolerate. Then we simply take the appropriate actions from a place of love.
If you would like help deciding what and who you will tolerate, simply click schedule my free mini session now.