When was the last time you were truly honest with yourself about a situation that you should have changed or left behind? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Stuck in a rut knowing we should take some sort of action to improve things, but not really forcing ourselves to do so.
As human beings we are incredibly complex creatures. We are capable of rationalising almost anything to ourselves. We have an innate ability to put up with our own bullshit, that is, to deceive ourselves or make excuses for our behaviour or situations, even when we know deep down that we are not being honest with ourselves. This can be incredibly damaging, both to our mental and physical health, as well as our relationships with others.
I’ve had times in my life where I have stayed in a situation for far too long even though it was affecting my physical and mental health. But even that didn’t make me wake up and see what was going on. I was working in a toxic environment where certain team members were being favoured when it came to allocation of work. I fooled myself day after day that things would change and the rest of us would be treated fairly. But it never changed. And the longer I stayed in the situation the worse it got. But I needed the money and so I stayed. It took me nearly a year to finally admit to myself that things weren’t going to change and that the best thing was for me to leave.
There are many reasons why we put up with our own bullshit. Perhaps the most common reason is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of judgement, or fear of not being good enough can all contribute to our self-deception. It is often easier to stay in a familiar and comfortable situation, even if it is not ideal, than to take a risk and try something new. This fear can be paralysing, preventing us from taking action to change our lives for the better.
Another reason people put up with their own bullshit is a lack of self-awareness. We all have blind spots when it comes to ourselves, and it can be difficult to recognise our own faults and shortcomings. We may also have a distorted self-image, either seeing ourselves as better than we are or not giving ourselves enough credit. This lack of self-awareness can make it difficult to see when we are making excuses or deceiving ourselves.
Finally, some people put up with their own bullshit simply because it is easier than facing the truth. Admitting to ourselves that we have made a mistake, acted inappropriately, or have a problem that needs to be addressed can be incredibly difficult. It can be easier to ignore the issue or make excuses for our behaviour, rather than facing the discomfort of acknowledging the truth, especially when it is in relation to someone else.
So how do we let go of the bullshit? First, we have to recognise this is even happening. How do I do that you may ask. Below are a few key signs to look out for:
1. You feel stuck
If you feel like you're stuck in a rut and nothing is changing, it's time to take a closer look at what's going on. Are you making excuses for your situation, or are you taking steps to move forward? If you're not actively working towards change, it's time to recognise that you're putting up with your own bullshit.
2. You're not happy
If you're not happy with your life, it's time to take a closer look at what's causing that dissatisfaction. Are you making excuses for why things aren't the way you want them to be, or are you actively working towards change? Recognising that you're not happy is the first step towards making a change.
3. You're not reaching your goals
If you're consistently falling short of your goals, it's time to take a closer look at why that's happening. Are you making excuses for why you're not succeeding, or are you taking action to address the obstacles in your way? Recognising that you're not achieving your goals is a sign that you may be putting up with your own bullshit.
4. Others are pointing it out
Sometimes it can be difficult to see our own faults, but if others are consistently pointing out the same issues or problems with your behaviour, it's time to take notice. This can be a sign that you're not being honest with yourself, and it's time to start making changes.
5. You're not growing or learning
Life is all about growth and learning, and if you're not doing either, it's time to take a closer look at why. Are you making excuses for why you're not growing or learning, or are you actively seeking out opportunities for personal and professional development? Recognising that you're not growing or learning is a sign that you may be putting up with your own bullshit.
Only once you have recognised that you are putting up with your own bullshit, will you actually be able to change it. And this is only if you decide to do so. As I said earlier in this blog, some of us are paralysed with the fear of doing something about our situation.
If you are ready to cut through your own bullshit and take action in your life, here are five steps:
1. Be brutally honest with yourself
Sometimes we tell ourselves stories that aren't entirely true to avoid facing difficult truths or taking responsibility for our actions. To cut through your own bullshit, you need to be brutally honest with yourself about your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
2. Set clear goals
Setting clear and achievable goals can help you stay focused and motivated. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, and time-bound so that you have a clear roadmap for what you want to accomplish.
3. Break things down into small steps
Big goals can be overwhelming, but breaking them down into small, manageable steps can make them less intimidating. This can help you take action without feeling overwhelmed.
4. Hold yourself accountable or find an accountability buddy
It's easy to make excuses or blame others when things don't go as planned. Instead, hold yourself accountable for your actions and decisions. Take responsibility for your mistakes and learn from them. If you find it difficult to hold yourself accountable, try and find an accountability buddy. This could be a friend, family member or colleague. Telling someone what you are doing and when you want to do it by can help to keep you motivated and supported.
5. Take action, even if it's imperfect
Often, the fear of failure or the desire for perfection can hold us back from taking action. But taking imperfect action is better than doing nothing at all. Remember, you can always course-correct along the way.
It can take a long time before we acknowledge to ourselves that we are putting up with our own bullshit, but once we see it, we have two choices. Either face it head on and do something about it, or avoid it.
Which route would you take?
If you are ready for a change and would like support in doing so, you can book a FREE consultation call with me.