To a great extent, I believe that that many of us are simply putting up with stuff in our lives. I must admit that this hadn’t even occurred to me until recently. But the more I thought about it, the more things I’ve identified that I’m putting up with. And on further reflection, I see evidence of this all around me.
Why are we putting up with this?
I think this often happens quite innocently, before it builds unconsciously over time. Initially we accept something temporarily, as a kind of compromise. This can often be something quite small or insignificant.
But our initial easiness can transform into a greater tolerance, and ultimately acceptance that that’s just the way things are. This can be much harder to shift as many people then feel stuck within that situation.
This could be because they don’t want to:
- cause a fuss
- rock the boat
- disturb the status quo
- upset other people
- appear selfish
All these reasons are understandable in isolation, but many of them point to having low personal self-worth. If left unchecked this could ultimately develop into other issues including poor physical and mental health.
What are we putting up with?
I see evidence of people putting up with things all around me with those I know well and others I come into contact with. What’s more, it seems to manifest across a variety of life elements.
Here are a few examples to draw your attention to what you may be putting up with.
Health & fitness
You may not feel in peak health, maybe you haven’t for a while. Can you even remember what good health feels like?
Maybe you frequently get ill, but that’s OK: “It’s winter”, “There are bugs going around”, “Everyone gets ill”. Don’t they? Maybe some are more susceptible than others…
These are signs that you maybe not treating your health as a priority. This is one you may only notice (and regret) once it’s too late.
Are you getting enough sleep? Personal sleep requirements can differ a lot, but I know many people who seem to be (permanently) sleep deprived. It almost seems like a perverse badge of honour!
There’s one thing having the odd late night now & again – we also need to enjoy life – but lack of sleep can take a toll on your physical and mental health.
Are you putting up with work you don’t like – whether it’s the role, the organisation, work colleagues? Are you not being paid enough for what you’re doing, maybe less than others doing the same role?
How about your commute? Is it too far, too time-consuming, too unpredictable, too stressful?
In terms of finances, there could be a whole lot here that you’re putting up with. Maybe you’ve committed to some expenses that you’re not getting full value from. Gym membership anyone?
Whether you’re saving or borrowing, you could well be putting up with unattractive interest rates. And let’s not even go there with the reverse loyalty premiums we often get charged by insurance companies!
Linked to this, we sometimes put up with disappointing service levels from a variety of service providers because we’re too polite / too apathetic / too British to provide constructive feedback.
Do you get to eat what you want? Even when you’re the one cooking, sometimes you compromise what you eat, because you don’t have the time to invest or the food quality isn’t great.
You may also be putting up with (and even supporting) fussy eaters too, meaning you and others are missing out on a balanced diet or having to prepare multiple different meals every day.
What about how and when meals are consumed? Are they too early, too late, in front of the TV etc. This is often compounded the more mouths you’ve got to feed.
Do you take enough time for you and your personal needs? This could be in terms doctor, dental and hair appointments. It could also be in taking the time to sit down and rest sometimes, before crashing on the sofa or ultimately straight into bed late at night.
Mums, in particular, are often guilty of giving way more for their kids, at the sacrifice of their own needs.
You may be putting up with things on the housing front. This could include living somewhere you don’t like e.g. location, neighbourhood, or type of accommodation.
Alternatively, it could be the conditions you live in e.g. temperature, cosiness etc. Are there still unpacked boxes since your last move? Are there messy corners of the house that you avoid?
The majority of us have many different people in our lives, including family, friends, loved ones, neighbours, work colleagues etc. Many of these relationships are healthy and supportive ones, but sadly not all of them are.
Sometimes we find ourselves at the beck and call of someone, whilst at other times they couldn’t give us the time of day.
Maybe you’re putting up with complacency from others, being taken for granted, disrespected or even abused in some way?
What can we do?
I’m not saying that all of these things are simple, nor can be resolved overnight. But we do generally have more choices than we might imagine. We also have a responsibly to ourselves, as much as to others.
Here are a few steps we could take:
Step 1 – Self-awareness
What are you putting up with? Start to notice and write a list of things you’re putting up with. Was this a surprise or were you already aware?
Step 2 – Priorities
Determine what’s most important to address and how to do this. Think small and simple to begin with. This will give you the confidence and motivation to continue to higher priorities.
Step 3 – Action
Pick one at a time to be addressed. Do it. Enjoy the feeling. Celebrate success!
Repeat steps 1-3 again.
I believe that many of us are simply ‘putting up with stuff’ in different aspects of our lives. I know there’re things I’ve been putting up with, and I see plenty more evidence of this all around me.
There are many reasons for this, all are perfectly rational and reasonable in isolation. But these can compound over time: taking us from easiness, to tolerance to acceptance.
You are not stuck in the here and now. We often have more choices than we realise and we can move onwards and upwards. You don’t have to simply put up with things than aren’t acceptable to you anymore.
Personally, I’m going to focus on one thing a month and make some changes. This may take some time, but I know I’m ultimately going to make some changes for the better. And, I challenge you to do the same!
Thank you for reading! For more on Age Life Balance, browse the blog at www.agelifebalance.com to find out more.