What do you think of when you hear the word endurance? Most people conjure up an image of marathon runners, people surviving in war torn countries or those who are battling a long term illness. We tend to think of endurance for the really tough, unusual life challenges that push us to our limits.
Yet endurance applies to many areas of our lives: tolerating the chronic pain of migraines, arthritis or other physical ailments. Withstanding the cry of a baby needing to fall asleep, living within ear shot of drum lessons, the neighbors barking dog or the rock hammer at a nearby construction site are other examples.
Building a career takes endurance as does managing colleague relationships and tricky political environments at work. Strategizing, thoughtfulness and discipline become important components of navigating these situations successfully over time. Academic study require focus and endurance.
Your relationship life most probably demands emotional endurance on a regular basis. On the intimate level, couples must endure many things including the amount of communication needed for sustain a healthy functioning relationship. They must tolerate the different perspective each brings to the myriad of shared life events. Managing relationship conflicts with family of origin and extended family is another example.
Getting through health crisis of your own or those you love requires, at a minimum, physical and emotional endurance, as does finding the path forward after a major loss. Yet even minor physical issues wear and tear on our tolerance. A blister is a blister, but if it accompanies several other tough situations on a particular day, it can be the last needle on the haystack.
Enduring the silence of a teenager, the temper tantrum of a toddler, the complexities of divorce or caring for aging parents can push many people to their limits.
While these examples may not seem to compare to fighting in a war, this doesn’t diminish what your day to day life requires of you. Take a moment to reflect on the situations, issues, people, events, etc., that fill your daily “endurance tank”. Yes, there are times when taking a step back and putting things in perspective is useful. Likewise, there are times where identifying all that you have going on is important. Seeing your frustrations and exhaustion as real and acknowledging what is being required of you not only is validating, but it can help you endure!