Don't Tolerate, Be Happy

I was driving to a meeting one morning on a gorgeous spring day. I89 from Burlington, Vermont to Waterbury is one of the most beautiful stretches of interstate highways in the country. I was thinking about what a great state and great country I live in. I was thinking how much I love my life, and I was feeling pretty good.

Only a few years prior, my life wasn’t so great. I won’t go into all the sad details, but I wasn’t happy. Today I am. As I drove through the Green Mountains along the Winooski River, I began to ask myself what was the difference.

I make more money, sure. I have a great relationship with my wife and family, yes. I’m in good health, I love what I do, I have fewer debts—check, check, check.

ALL of these things contribute to my happiness, but what stood out for me was my unwillingness to tolerate things that previously I had accepted. I now expect more and better things in my life, and I don’t settle for things that I used to settle for.

Example: The car I’m driving is dependable. It’s not new. It’s not fancy. But it works. It runs, and I own it. It wasn’t long ago that I put up with vehicles that were troublesome. Today, I’d simply get rid of one that didn’t meet my needs.

Another: Someone recently spoke to me in a way that I found inappropriate. Time was when I would just accept it, maybe even get into it with them in a similar temper. This time, I told this individual that I no longer allowed people to talk to me in that fashion and ended the conversation. Furthermore, I informed them that this type of exchange—if continued—would seriously damage our relationship.

We train people how to treat us, and in this case I put her on notice that the way she was speaking to me was unacceptable. Perhaps I just value myself more than I used to.

I share this with you not to brag about how well I’m doing, but to encourage you to value YOURSELF more—to tolerate less and to upgrade your life. It’s easier than you might think.

It starts with becoming aware of the things you put up with that take away from your peace and sap your energy. All the little things that individually don’t seem like much but when added together create stress and stop you from experiencing your true bliss.

By resolving and eliminating each little aggravation, you clear the way for creativity. You open yourself to more of what life has to offer.

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