what's behind a strange french metaphor.
A difficult thing, swallowing grass snakes, but digesting them is worse.
The English translation for "avaler une couleuvre"* is "hard to swallow" with added humiliation.
For example you get passed over for promotion in favor of someone incompetent and hated. You swallow the grass snake when you have no real choice but to accept. Once your rage has abated, you justify this by convincing yourself that it is for the best , after all, you have a family to support.
Now it is clear to your hierarchy just what you are prepared to accept, they are professionals, and you will need to acquire a taste for grass snakes, because this has become a management tool where you are concerned.
I have a history of swallowing grass snakes, they don't sit well on my stomach.
I have given them up for Lent.
*avaler une couleuvre: French metaphor: made to accept something that goes against your principles or desires and is often humiliating.