Friday, May 27, 2016

Your window of tolerance

Your window of tolerance will tell you everything you need to know about your emotional world. The bigger your window, the more you'll be able to cope with life's ups and downs. That's not to say you'll never be hurt or experience trauma, but with the right social support and your resilience, you'll probably bounce back quicker than someone with a smaller window of tolerance.

Our tolerance for what are called positive and negative emotions, has everything to do with how we grew up. If we had secure attachment, that is, if we felt loved for who we were and our needs were mostly met, we'll have quite a large window of tolerance. We won't be overwhelmed or shutdown easily. That's because our parents, or whoever our primary caregiver was, would have soothed us, been there for us and our needs, and from that, we learn resilience and safety. We learn that we're fundamentally ok. We have the time and the resources to concentrate on our growth and development because we're not fighting (fleeing or freezing) for our very survival like so many children who experience repetitive abuse, whether emotional, physical and sexual.

Of course, we can learn how to expand our window of tolerance through different methods, tools and techniques, but it's always easier when we start with being and feeling loved. I liken it to a child either being on the top of a mountain, ready to fly off into their lives, or a child trudging up the mountain with a huge weight on their backs and sometimes stumbling and falling back down. With the right help, we can all be on top of the mountain which gives us a view of the bigger picture of our lives.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pay attention to the button instead

I read this quote back in 2011 and saw it the other day on Facebook in my memories. I must have needed reminding ;-) Isn't it amazing all the good stuff we read but forget to put into practice?

What I think is important about this quote is that it focuses us on the real issue. Not that the person who pressed our button isn't important, especially if they are a loved one or a good friend, but the button is in us, not them. If we don't look at the button, we are at the mercy of others' behaviour and we can also get confused as to what's what.  Their behaviour can switch us on or off. So, if we look at them as the trigger, instead of the button they've pushed in us, we are dependent on how they behave. And we have no control over another's behaviour, no matter who they are. I'm not saying for one minute that we're islands living in a vacuum and other people shouldn't affect us, I think that's unrealistic. But when we've neutralised at least some of our triggers, especially the big ones, we'll be happier and more at peace which is a huge plus. We'll also have more clarity and more defined boundaries. All of which makes us healthier and happier.

Make a trigger list, list anything that triggers you, you might find making the list triggers you and that's ok, tap immediately if that happens. Your triggers are being activated by others all the time anyway, so why not take some of your power back, look at them in black and white, and you can then decide which triggers to tap on first.