27 years ago we built a large addition to our house, which included a second bathroom for our then-growing family. Life was good.
The breakdowns started slowly. At first, it was an ever-so gradual sinking of the floor where the add-on connected to the original house. No big deal.
The shower stall leaked. Easily fixed with caulking.
A couple door frames warped. Got used to it.
The vanity dropped a half-inch from the wall. Stuck in a few shims.
The toilet started to tilt. Still worked, right?
Early this year the toilet tank started to leak, and no matter what we did or replaced, we’d hear it refilling frequently. Then began a growing issue with the toilet not quite flushing properly. We shifted into irritated mode.
Then we went on vacation for two weeks in July. We returned to a house with a pervasive mildewy smell… and a $500 water bill.
Over the next month we tweaked, attempted repairs…. and the Toilet from Hell (as we began to call it) just kept sinking and leaking and suddenly stopped flushing altogether – just as we welcomed six houseguests for a week. I was ready to explode – it was me or the toilet!
$4,000 and a tear-out later we have a newly leveled addition, new bathroom flooring and, for the first time in 20 years, a trouble-free toilet that does not tilt, leak, or fight back in any way. Good heavens, how did it come to this? Like so much in life, the tiny indignities had accumulated over decades, and it took a meltdown to wake us up to the fact that we were TOLERATING the things that were wrong about our addition.
Are You Ready to Explode?
Your capacity for handling “stuff” in your life is like a balloon. Little stressors in your life push a tiny bit of air into your balloon; big stressors are like a huge puff of it. You can handle each stressor individually, yet each one stretches your balloon just a bit more…and more…and more until you feel so stretched and thin that even a poke with a blunt object can cause you to burst.
Stressors can be tiny, like dirty dishes in the sink, a room that needs repainting, or those five pounds you added on your vacation; or they can be huge, like Mom losing her memory, dysfunction in a relationship, or unemployment.
You can tolerate a lot, but not all at once. Many times there’s not much you can do about the big stuff, yet there’s still a lot you can do to open up some space so you don’t explode.
How do you increase the resilience of a balloon? You let out some air. Watch this 3 minute video to learn more about the four actions you can take to eliminate tolerations, reduce the stress in your life, and open more space for Happiness.
- Do: Take action to remove the toleration. Have the conversation, change the behavior, remove the item, clean it, replace it, buy it, or whatever is required to remove it from your list.
- Delegate:Turn to someone else to take the action, e.g. a child, partner, coworker, or contractor. Automate it or create a process to handle it (like setting up online payments).
- Defer: When you do not have the time, resources, or energy to address the toleration now. On your calendar, set a time to perform a future action to eliminate the toleration. Then forget about it until it pops back onto your radar.
- Dump: Give yourself permission to no longer consider the issue a toleration. Cross it off. Done. Let it go.
When your balloon of stress is nearly filled, you don’t need to address the HUGE problems to feel better – choose a few you can control, get those off your tolerations list, and notice how – with that newly available capacity – you’re able to handle the stuff you can’t change with a bit more grace and calm.