I enjoy reading this poem by Rumi to remind myself and my clients of the practice of consciously tolerating your emotions. Pleasant emotions are experienced as pleasurable but people tend to avoid feeling the negative emotions. Usually negative emotions and thoughts are buried, and sometimes they are numbed with alcohol, smoking, drugs or another addiction to take your mind off of what is bothering you.
Refusing to acknowledge or talk about negative emotions does not mean you have gotten rid of them or that you have risen above the tendency to feel them; they influence you both consciously and unconsciously and can manifest in negative behaviour towards a person who has hurt you at a later date. Buried resentments manifest in uglier and uglier ways as time goes on and future incidents are interpreted in light of betrayals that happened in the past. Therefore when someone says or does something that causes you to feel hurt, angry, betrayed, sad and/or unfairly treated, don't be afraid to tell them so. You could say, "I feel______when you say_____ this to me or do_______. I'd appreciate if you could keep this in mind for future." Invite others to do the same for you. In this way, there is a chance for both you and the other person to correct your behaviour in the future, rather than continuing to hurt someone you love and care for. Speak your truth and let others do the same. Consider if the other person has valid points to back up what they are saying or if you can imagine what you would feel like if you were in their shoes. If something is bothering you and you tell someone nothing is wrong when they ask you out of a belief that they should already know or talking about it won't help, you are damaging the future of the relationship. The other person will act in less affectionate ways towards you, which will cause you to do the same in return and start a cycle of emotional distance. You will not be as inclined to spend time with this person and gradually the relationship may taper off.
Realize that just because you told someone (or continue to tell them) that their words or actions hurt you and you elaborate on what they can do to rectify the situation, it does not necessarily mean they will change their behaviour or do what you are requesting of them. Sometimes they are unable to make adequate change despite their efforts to do so, sometimes they don't think they are wrong and sometimes they know they are wrong but don't care enough about you to treat you in the way you would like them to treat you. In any event, for the sake of your own happiness, you must make a decision to forgive them or make allowances if you choose to stay in a relationship with them. If they are family, you must develop coping strategies to deal with the family dynamics that are operating.
When a negative emotion comes up, don't feel the need to respond to the person right away because harsh words and impulsive actions cannot be taken back. My philosophy is that how other people treat you is their karma and what you do in response is your own karma. Rather than immediately responding, retreat to a place where you can be alone, and welcome the emotion you are feeling. Stay with it a while, don't force it away with future plans, distractions, thoughts of the past or positive thoughts and feelings. After you have sat with it a while, let it go and move on with your day. You don't need other people to validate your feelings, they are valid because you are feeling them. Do not allow others to convince you that what you are feeling is wrong. You do not need to consider in the moment whether your feelings are justifiable in the circumstances. Just allow yourself to fully feel the emotions in your body. By sitting with and tolerating the emotions, you build resilience. It will become more natural for you to deal with your emotions in a healthy, conscious way and not let them unconsciously dictate your behaviour.
Ultimately, life has its ups and downs and the beautiful emotions in life can not be truly appreciated without the more challenging ones. I believe a full life is one filled with the entire range of human emotions, as this develops empathy for others. Emotional regulation is a skill to be perfected over a lifetime and there is no better time to start than now.