Maria Brophy


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Motivation / Personal / Philosophy

Stop Tolerating What Holds you Back

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Photo (c) Rebekka Gudleifs


Tolerations weigh us down; they keep us stuck and prevent us from getting on with our life and moving forward.” Peggy Porter

I stumbled upon a great article by Peggy Porter about how tolerating big and little things in our lives can drain us of our good energy and keep us from moving forward.

It reminded me of a decision I made a few years ago not to tell nay-sayers my big dreams

I grew tired of people telling me that I “can’t” do something.  The final straw was when a close friend, a chronic naysayer of anything good, attempted to crush a dream of mine.

I had enthusiastically told her about my wild idea to create a television show based on the happenings in the surf art studio of my husband, Drew.

You’ll never get a show going about Drew.”  The naysayer said, cooly.

But other people do it, even a skateboarder who’s still in high school.  Why not us?”  I said, defending my idea.

Because you don’t know anything about tv.  You don’t even know anybody in Hollywood.”  The naysayer rested her case.

She almost had me.  There was a split second where I agreed with her – what the hell did I know about producing a television show?  Who in the world did I think I was?

But then I came to my senses, and I made two decisions:

1.)     To stop spending time with naysayers; and

2.)     To only share my big ideas with people who think big

Being the stubborn Slovakian that I am, I refused let her get me down.  I began a three and a half year quest to get my show on the air.  Now, The Paint Shop is enjoyed by 3.5 million households, and that number grows every day.

There are roadblocks and attitudes that we should never tolerate, if we are to be happy, thrive and do what we were meant to do in life.

It’s easy for people to get under our skin, put us down, and convince us that we aren’t good enough to carry out our dreams.  After all, we have our own doubts, anyway.  It’s hard enough convincing ourselves.

Below is my list of the top offending tolerations and roadblocks to happiness and success.

NEGATIVE PEOPLE:  It’s very important to clear out the negative people from your life.  Their feelings and thoughts are contagious. Your life is too precious to pollute it that way.

If you have family members that you love that are negative, than limit your time with them.  You can still care about them and check in with them every now and again, but keep it to a minimum.  That way you can’t be affected by their darkness.

MISERY:  Unless you are a certified Psychiatrist, you can’t help people if they aren’t willing to help themselves.  You know that friend of yours that always has things going wrong?  Deep down inside she enjoys the drama.  Don’t get sucked into it.

DREAM CRUSHERS: These are the people who stomp your new ideas!   They may be well meaning, but they don’t know what they are talking about.

Be polite, but replace your time with them and spend it instead with like-minded folks who will uplift you and your ideas and who want to see you grow.

COMPLICATED LIVING:  Don’t tolerate being shackled to big bills for materials things that don’t matter.  Over-extending yourself keeps you from getting the real gold.

There are big things you want to do with your life!  Write that book, produce that video, take a year to explore Italy.

If you have a large mortgage or car payment, and you over-spend, you are not in a position to take risks where it really matters; investing in doing what you love.

It’s easier to take risks when you have less to lose. Keeping your expenses and your obligations to a minimum allows you to be open to doing that which is important to you.

My big project this year is our television show.  It is actually costing us money to get this on the air.  Production costs are very expensive, and until we get picked up by a major network, we are footing the bill (with some help from sponsors).

If we had a large mortgage, a swanky art studio space and big expenses, we wouldn’t be in a financial position to take a risk with this project.

By keeping our expenses low and not spending like crazy, we are able to take the risk to invest in our future without starving.

JUDGEMENT:  Don’t tolerate being judged by others.  You are perfect just the way you are, skinny legs and all.  There are 6 billion people on this planet, and we all have a different point of view.

At the same time, allow others to have their own opinion and accept it, even if you don’t understand it.  You will form tighter relationships with family, customers and neighbors taking this approach.

ROADBLOCKS:  Tolerating roadblocks can really slow us down – some are big, some are small.  Examples of roadblocks are:

  • Using outdated equipment that causes inefficiency;
  • A broken lightbulb, making it hard to see in your workspace;
  • Lacking technical knowledge on how to get something done but putting off learning it;
  • Keeping a bad employee, accountant or attorney that you can’t get the nerve to “fire”;
  • An old website which looks like it was designed when Pat Benetar was popular!

Make a list of all of the roadblocks that are keeping you from getting things done, from being efficient or doing the best you can in your life, and then one-by-one, eradicate them!  You will be energized and free for more growth.

So I have to ask you, what have you decided to stop tolerating in your life? Please, share in the comments!

Maria xxoo

(Photo credit:  The Amazing Rebekka Guoleifsdottier)



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31 Comments Stop Tolerating What Holds you Back

  1. Lori Woodward

    Maria, loved this post – it spoke directly to me and reminded me to get moving on my dream projects.

    It’s wonderful to see you move ahead and avoid the naysayers.

  2. Al McWhite

    Great post Maria! It is indeed of the utmost importance to filter out all that does not serve your greater intentions. Everything we see and experience in the world of materialized form originated from creative thought and dreams. For example, imagine if the Wright Brothers would have listened to the naysayers! It is the “Wayseers” the bring about the evolution of the human family not the naysayers. Transcend into the higher consciousness and peace be with us all! Check out

    Big Smiles & Shakas,

    1. Maria

      Al, awesome to hear from you, my 2nd favorite artist from Myrtle Beach! (Drew’s my 1st of course). Wayseers is a great term – love it!

  3. kara rane

    hi Maria*
    Powerful message, thank you.
    & not only do some of these things block our way (negative people,misery,overspending), they can actually drown you.
    Just recently, I had to remind myself of a lesson (the #1 lesson) that I learned as a lifeguard, “you can not save Anybody, if they are drowning You!”
    not easy. i recall my fellow lifeguards joking me that I was the most hands off -always dry lifeguard (being tall/ thin, no strong arm saves for me!)
    I stayed on the paddle board and threw a floating ring.
    Well this is a lesson I HAD to execute in my personal life too.
    Do not let anyone drown you, especially if you are the one saving them.
    not easy but essential for your own life.

    1. Maria

      Wow Kara, that is a great story and I love the quote “you cannot save anybody if they are drowning you.” Thanks for commenting – I appreciate seeing you here!

  4. kenneth c young

    As per your article on Stop Tolerating What Holds You Back you hit a very serious core with me with this sentence below.

    If you have a large mortgage or car payment, and you over-spend, you are not in a position to take risks where it really matters; investing in doing what you love.

    I do not have a large car payment or mortgage and certainly do not have the budget to over spend on anything however I have no money available money available at the end of the month to invest in what I so love and was put on this planet to do.

    Your above statement has lead me to wonder if I will have to abandon what I so love and was put here to do aside. At just about 60 years of age and with a disability that prevents me from working a regular job it looks like my dream may never come to the service.

    Kenneth c Young

    1. Maria Brophy

      Kenneth, I’m so glad you asked that question!

      You do not sound like you’re over-extended to me. It sounds like you have less to risk than most people who over-spend in America. This means that you are in a great position to go for what you want.

      I think your deal is your mind-set. I’m going out on a limb here, because there’s a good chance you’ll be mad for me saying that. But there’s also a chance you’ll realize it, and then work on it, and then make changes for yourself that will bring you to what you want.

      To make our dream come true with the TV show, we have almost abandoned our business for a few months, which means NO money coming in, while a lot is going out. I choose not to stress about it and instead figure out how to make it work.

      There’s a chance we will fall flat on our faces and be in a financial mess – but there’s a greater chance we will come out the other side, and it will be a success.

      I hope you’ll find a way to take the path you dream of.

      1. jdARTWEB

        Omg Maria! I adore your positive attitude! I have always had very low self-esteem growing up, and have definitely dwelled on all the “Obstacles” that I felt were holding me back from getting my artwork “out there”. Perspective is everything. Finally, at 37 years of age, I realized that I was my biggest obstacle. I was the one holding me back because I was afraid to fail. So, I made a conscious decision to start to believe in myself. Just by changing my thoughts and by telling myself I can reach my goals, I started to believe, and my whole energy shifted. In the past year, I have co-founded an artist cooperative, and I believe my success so far is largely due to actually believing in me, rather than being defined by other people’s perception of me or of my art. Hallejuliah!

    2. kara rane

      hi Kenneth-
      forget about money…make something from nothing,,,I know you can.
      crayola markers, paper, and ideas…less than 10 bucks.
      believe in you.

  5. B. J. S.

    Maria, you are right on the money about this, one day a good friend told me to stop spending anytime with people who just want to drain me! She was right.

    I also tell myself on a daily basis, that I am good enough and I deserve. I am still working on that one and probably will for the rest of my life. I always have searched out people to be friends who are like my family and no they don’t support me but always suggest with the idea “who do you think you are” mentality. Thru much therapy I now almost here a Bing in my head when I get around that type of person and want to get close to them, old habits dye hard!

    Thanks for the inspirational words and good luck on the show!

  6. Taexalia

    Oh this is a great post!

    Me – I’m Not Tolerating Caretakers. It doesn’t matter to me what Other People think about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, how fast I’m doing it or whether any of it fits with their ideas. I am soooooo tired of caretakers, who are really naysayers in disguise – because their interfering “helpful” advice/comments/suggestions/demands are just their way of saying “You’re no doing it right” ~ and they drain my energy.

    My name is Taexalia and I don’t tolerate caretakers 🙂

    1. Maria Brophy

      Taexalia, I love this! Especially “Caretakers who are really naysayers in disguise” – great line!

      Thank you!

  7. Archan Mehta


    As always, this is a useful post. I enjoyed reading it.

    It seems like you try to find different ways to add value to the work-lives of others. Every time you pen your thoughts and share your experiences with us, needless to say, you make a contribution.

    In my own life, I was surrounded by a lot of people. My social calendar was always full and I was a social butterfly. I used to party on a regular basis. I ended up biting more than I could chew.

    I was popular, of course, but that popularity cost a fortune. I would bump into people, who would insist on spending time with me. They wanted to take a break and enjoy coffee or tea, but that ate into my time. My time=time I wanted to spend doing things I enjoyed, such as reading a good book, writing, running errands, completing chores, etc.

    That’s why I no longer socialise as much as I used to. It has been a conscious decision, and it also helps me to stay away from the critics.

    Like you, some of my closest friends and relatives have been quite critical of me. You are in good company. I knew we were kindred spirits from the outset because we have so much in common.

    Staying away from people–especially negative ones–has enabled me to enjoy solitude. My existential aloneness is a welcome respite from the “wild, party animal” image people used to have about me.

    What a feeling of bliss to be able to do the things I enjoy; things that are personally meaningful to me. Spending time alone and on tasks that matter has finally given me so much peace of mind.

    I am a happier person and I feel whole again. It has been a journey of self-discovery. The daily practice of meditation has also helped me to discover who I really am. I would recommend taking that inner journey to anybody who is interested in personal growth and development.


    1. Maria Brophy

      Archan, I didn’t realize you were a party animal! Though I’m not surprised – and I would like to see that in action!

      I’m glad you found a way to find your peace of mind. Meditation is somewhat of a must for me – I’m a lunatic when I don’t do it!

  8. Jane

    THANK YOU for this timely post! Here’s to LIVING our beautiful lives! Every “no” is closer to the “yes” that rocks!

  9. Alex Mitchell

    Hi Maria! Great post, as usual. To answer your question, I have stopped tolerating the idea that I cannot change my thoughts and my personality. And also, I have stopped tolerating my own scarcity thinking. Our relationships with others start in our own minds. I find that by working on myself, I attract different people into my life. I think it’s a combination of choosing to not be around negative people, and also simply knowing that what they think has nothing to do with me (and everything to do with them).

  10. Dianne Poinski

    Another wonderful post Maria! I agreed with everything you wrote, but the one that really hit home was “Complicated Living”. This is the one I have been trying to teach my children who at 21 & 24 are on the brink of beginning their lives. I will not encourage them to buy houses, cars etc, but to go out and see the world instead. I wish I had been given that advice when I was their age.

    I made the mistake of accumulating too much debt and I feel it is holding me back right now. I am slowing paying that off, but if I knew then what I know now………..

  11. Lance

    Love this story that you’ve shared – and how you have moved beyond those who have tried to hold you back…and have succeeded big-time!

    And it reminds me of a place I was at just recently – where I was holding myself back because I “kept doing what I was always doing”. With some awareness, I stopped (I stopped a whole lot of everything I was doing) – and in that – I’ve found deeper clarity and purpose (and deeper inspiration for now moving forward).

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Jennifer Ressmann

    What a great topic, Maria!! Tolerating stuff in life was something I really had to tackle to start making my life the one I wanted to have. Really chipping away at those things that hinder. Along with the many great items you listed above can I add? –


    1. Your own Bad Attitude – not to get too hung up on your own whining and complaining – it’s a complete setback. Ok – maybe a little gripping, but don’t make it a lifestyle.

    2. Your Health – don’t put it on the back burner. Bad health will also drag you down and be a set back.

    3. Lack of Self Esteem/Confidence or Feeling Blue. Get over it somehow. Maybe an exercise program is all that is needed to fix all three items.

    At some point we gotta put what’s important first.

    Thanks for the great topic!

    1. Maria Brophy

      Jennifer, these 3 are great additions to things we should never tolerate. Thank you! The first 1 – bad attitude – is one we all could work on. When things go wrong, don’t go with them…


  13. Bryan

    Hi, i’m glad i found this website and I have a question my own question actually. I have a family member and her attitude towards me isn’t good and I often can’t get over it and end up pulling a long long face that puts my mom in an awkward place. I’m looking for a way to handle that and I don’t want to continue like this hurting my mom more. We now don’t talk anymore but dinners and all we’ll be there. The past year or so, I’ve been taking initiative to make conversation but what i get is just a nod, yes, no etc. I’m in a family of 4 women including my mom. Sometimes I think nobody understands me and I don’t express myself much. Just when I’m pushed to the edge I will burst but cools down quickly.

  14. Donna Rardin

    Hi Maria,
    Just got emailed this site from my husband at a time of extreem stress in our lives. At 57, I can no longer tolerate my boss of 6 years so I am giving my 2 week notice. I can’t believe how long he I allowed him to abused me. I have no other job lined up, only a few ideas of whats next. and I’m very scared. We do have some savings that can keep us afloat for a while. Throughout my life I have read inspirational books and articles……let go of the rock, and all that, but we need to keep reading all the good stuff to make it work for us. Your post has givin me hope and I know we will be just fine. I thank you for that!

    1. Maria Brophy

      Donna, I’m glad you found my website! Thanks for your comment. Congrats on breaking free from a job that was harmful to you. You are on the right path, even though it’s scary. Trust me, it will all work out!

  15. Christine Marsh

    Marvelous Maria,
    How cool that you wrote about the light bulb! My studio space was just…dark, and about a month ago, I invested in awesome new lights. It is one million times better, and my creativity skyrocketed.
    I am not their affiliate, but I should be! I turned on the light, and took a huge sigh of relief. My life became easier.

    It was not just the amazingness of the bulb, it was that I stopped tolerating an unacceptable condition.

    For me, I allow the naysayers to walk their own path, but I also CONVERT them. They see again and again that I am so persistently super-determined to do what I am told by my soul, that they turn into my supporters.
    Sending you all starshine sandwiches…

  16. Joseph Padilla

    Hi Maria,just wanted to say thank-you to you and Drew.About two months ago i was in You-tube studying airbrush videos and came across Drew’s art and and your business skill.I ordered my Poska pens and i am excited on how well they will help me to work quicker with my designs and artwork.
    As you know airbrushing can be a longer process at times depending on the details.Thank-you both for inspiring me and i hope to learn more in the days to come.

  17. ana

    Hey there, I have a question. What if kids hold you back? How can you possibly follow your dreams then? I have a daughter who does not want me to move to the place of my dreams and get the job of my dreams… she does not even want me to go to work or have a new relationship. So I live in a very miserable place, alone, to please her and her father. You have to do what’s best for the kids right? Give it all up for them? Can you help me please? 🙁

    1. Maria Brophy

      Ana, I’m sorry to hear about the trouble you’re having with your family. However, it’s up to you to take control of your life. You didn’t mention the age of this daughter who is dictating your life. But, it doesn’t matter. If she’s a child, remember that you are in control. YOU decide where you will live, and where you will work and if you will have a relationship. If she’s a teenager, same thing.

      If she’s 18 or older, make her move out and live your own life. Later, after she’s grown up mentally, she will treat you better. No one can dictate how you will live your life, UNLESS you allow them to. Stop allowing the bad behavior.

      You don’t need anyone’s permission to do anything. I wish you the best, I truly do. Please, take control of your life!


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