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Often we’re more comfortable doing things than sitting with difficult emotions, whether these are our own feelings or someone else’s. And we’re tempted to shut down, check out, and even blame others for being too emotional. While this might be true at times, we will always be easily overwhelmed when we never learn to build our emotional capacity. And building our capacity is how we grow in love.

To be sure, we all have our limits. And it’s reasonable to set boundaries when others are imposing their emotional burdens that are not ours to bear.  And certainly we don’t have to tolerate the emotional abuse of others.

At the same time, all too often we have an underdeveloped emotional capacity. As such, we struggle to tolerate even the normal ups and downs of feelings. We don’t deal with our own emotions, and we’re quick to tell others they’re being too sensitive as they’re responding to the normal dramas of life.

Of course, at times, they are being too sensitive and our inner fortitude helps to provide needed grounding – keeping them from getting swept out into the sea of emotions. But often the need is for us to grow in our emotional capacity. Like a growing family, we might simply have to build a bigger emotional house. It’s not loving or kind to expect others to remain small because we’re too lazy to add-on to our current capacities. And this is especially true with our wife and kids and with those we have a direct responsibility to.

We shortchange our strength and leave others feeling like they’re too much when we don’t invest in expanding our emotional tolerance. And this often starts simply with a willingness to go beneath the waterline of our own soul.

In the end, know your limits and set reasonable boundaries. And remember also that love will often call you to build your emotional capacity – expanding your ability to tolerate more of the good, the bad, and the ugly in yourself and others.

Photo by Jimmy Nilsson Masth on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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