Bad behavior: When you get in your own way

Posted in Energy & Ease, Happiness & Intentional Living

Energy & Ease: tolerations

Tolerations are things you’re reluctantly putting up with—and can include your own behavior.

While there are 8 types of tolerations, Behavior tolerations can be particularly exasperating because it’s you you’re putting up with.

For example, do you work too many hours and over promise at work? Do a lot of mindless eating and get too little sleep? Procrastinate and always run late?

All these actions and inactions are examples of behavior-based tolerations. In other words, situations where you’re putting up with something about your own behavior.

Behaving badly

And what’s the result of all this “bad” behavior?

Well, you usually don’t feel great about yourself. Your inner critic starts yammering. You “should” yourself. You feel you’re letting yourself down.

Behavior tolerations put you out of alignment with what you really want for yourself, causing you to feel you’re not living up to your potential.

Behavior tolerations are about your personal standards, the boundaries you set and protect, what you say yes and no to, your habits and routines, and the crucial conversations you have—or don’t.

Other tolerations related to your behavior might include:

  • Being a poor listener
  • Checking email too often
  • Gossiping
  • Never asking for help
  • Losing touch with old friends
  • Overspending
  • Needing to be right
  • Complaining
  • Hitting the snooze button
  • Binge watching Netflix
  • Putting results ahead of people
  • Not listening to your intuition
  • Staying up too late

While these are very different situations, any behavior you engage in that creates friction in your life and drains your energy signals this type of toleration.

Undermining in two ways

Tolerating something you don’t like about your own behavior creates an additional layer of friction. There’s the behavior itself you dislike—and there’s being frustrated with yourself for behaving that way.

It’s a debilitating one-two punch.

For example, you promise yourself you won’t procrastinate on your next project at work. And then you do.

You have to contend with the behavior and yourself. You don’t like procrastination. And you’re not happy with yourself for doing it.

Eroding self-trust

Behavior tolerations have consequences.

When you tell yourself you’re going to do something or not do something—and then you do the opposite, it leads to a lack of self trust.

Trust erodes when promises aren’t kept. Especially promises to yourself.

Exasperated for being late all the time, you swear to yourself I’ll be early from now on. When you’re late again, you feel disappointed in yourself and out of personal integrity.

This erosion of self trust is insidious. You become mistrustful that you’ll do what you say. You start to lose faith in your follow through.

When you fail to back up your words and intentions with aligned action, it reduces your personal power and confidence.

Tolerations multiply

Bad behavior in one area often leads to lowering your standards in another.

That’s because being out of alignment with your personal integrity often seeps into other areas of your life, even those not related to the original behavior.

  • Saying yes all the time leads to exhaustion.
  • Being exhausted leads to emotional eating.
  • Emotional eating leads to neglecting your exercise routine.

And so on…

And now you have a whole slew of interconnected behavior-related tolerations. Each adds to the friction in your life and drains more of your energy.

The cause and the cure

Yes, it’s frustrating to strive to act in one way and yet behave in another. But it’s also liberating to realize since you are causing the toleration with your actions or inactions, you can also un-cause it.

Let’s say you’re disorganized.

You spend precious minutes every day in search of misplaced items and paperwork. You lose receipts, which means you don’t get reimbursed for business expenses. You’re charged fees for late payments and miss deadlines at work. Your inbox is overflowing.

Being disorganized reduces your productivity, causes stress and anxiety, and creates overwhelm. You are tolerating your own behavior of being disorganized.

And yet no one is forcing you to be disorganized. You’re not dependent on another to be organized. Which means there’s no one else to blame for your disorganization.

Yes, on the one hand, this self-sabotage is maddening. Why would you do something that causes you distress?

But, on the other hand, it’s liberating—even energizing—to realize since you are causing the toleration with your actions or inactions, you can also create the desired change.

Which is actually very good news since you’re the only one you have control over anyway!

Master your behavior

Behavior tolerations are a vexing combination of energy drain and friction + disappointment and frustration in yourself.

The good news is when you accept full responsibility for your behavior, you can start acting in ways that eliminate existing tolerations and avoid future ones.

What new ways of behaving will help you become free of tolerations?

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