There is nothing worse than having to tolerate your frustration. It almost feels wasteful letting go of the feelings. How are you not supposed to be [insert emotion]? We often feel entitled to feeling hatred, anger, hurt, etc. Especially, if something was done TO us. Yes, life comes with an unimaginable barrage of pain…the suffering that remains is our responsibility.

Think of it this way, your partner, parent, or friend say something that annoys or hurts you. Is it their responsibility to deal with your emotional response or yours? We may initially say, “If they messed up, it is absolutely their responsibility!” or “What? Are they just off the hook for f***ing up?”

We are left at the whim of others if we place the responsibility on the other to fix or soothe us. You may begin to notice resentment, hurt turning to anger, sadness setting in, or anxiety about being uncertain of how the other person will respond. What kind of life is that?

Where to start:

  1. Take as much time as YOU want with the feeling. Validate the crap out of yourself! “Me feeling [x] makes so much sense because of [y].”
  2. Decide once you are ready on what you want/need to do:
    • (a) Reduce the intensity of the emotion –
      • Locate the feeling in your body and describe it (e.g., it feels like bees buzzing in my chest; slushy green goo in my stomach)
      • Inhale and breathe out an AHHHHH
      • Place your hands on your chest and rub it or rub your arms in a soothing motion
    • (b) Problem-solve to get a different result – Think of what you need to take responsibility for the situation, come up with many examples, choose one you are willing to try, and test it out!
  3. Show compassion for yourself at how difficult it can be to try this new technique “Trying to cope well is hard and can suck at first.” “This is hard for anyone.”

Then, wash and repeat. You will notice it is really challenging to do the first several times you try this or it may be hard in some situations but not others. Take back control. The reward is that you get to be the calm in the storm, and your emotions will no longer be at anyone’s whim!