|We get irritated, angry, offended. We lose focus, get bored, withdraw, or intervene.
Do you recognize how other people's behaviors sometimes trigger reactions in you?
Many of us have low tolerance for certain emotions: when someone – could be our child, partner, parent, colleague, or client – expresses this emotion verbally or through tone of voice and facial expression, our nervous system gets aroused.
Emotions that can be hard to tolerate include hopelessness, fear, anger, loneliness, sadness, disorientation, and enthusiasm. Are you thinking 'that doesn't count for me?' Well, you may either have a huge window of welcome for emotions, or you may not be aware.
Get the message!
As an NVC practitioner and coach, I know that emotions are messengers. They message us about our internal state, lead us to notice our needs, and prompt us to take action.
So, it's helpful if we allow our own emotions to surface so we get to consider what to do about the situation, and it's equally helpful if we can allow emotional expression from those we care about. If we get irritated when someone expresses hopelessness, none of us are supported.
How we attempt to stop or reduce emotions
It happens all the time, it can be very subtle, automatic and often under our own radar: That we don't enjoy others' emotional expressions. Automatic reactions to regulate the other person's emotions include:
These examples all spring from a positive intention, the wish to reduce the suffering of the other. This also counts for positive emotions like having fallen in love or in other ways being enthusiastic as we may foresee and want to prevent suffering caused by disappointment.
Once we notice there are certain emotions we feel uncomfortable with, we can decide to work on expanding our window of welcome for these emotions in ourselves – which will expand our tolerance for the same emotion expressed by others.
Expand your window now
A decision is not enough as our nervous system has its reasons for being alerted by certain emotions. For a lasting expansion of our tolerance, we need to understand why we are alarmed.
The answer to the last question could be deep, sincere acknowledgment of what has happened. Or imaginary support from a beloved relative or superhero. Or that a burden is lifted. Or just that you, your present self, is present with your younger self as a remedy for their loneliness.
Another option is to be guided by someone who knows the process.
I recommend the practitioners listed on Resonant Language Institute Europe's page – including your humble undersigned.