Learning to let go disturbing emotions in an authentic way, so they cannot influence the relationship with the people you serve nor the satisfaction you find in your work.



If you give space to disturbing emotions like anger, fear, helplessness or aversion, it can be harmful for yourself, but also for the relationship with the people you serve. If you only ignore the emotions, or suppress them, it’s a short-term-solution that will harm you even more, and the persons will feel your negative energy anyway.



Take around 10 minutes for this practice

  • Try to remember an incident or moment when you felt a disturbing emotion towards a person
  • Try to re-live this moment and feel the emotion again
  • Literally try to feel this emotion in your body (if you want you can place your hand on the spot of your body where you feel the emotion.
  • Accept the emotions as it is without any judgment
  • Now look in your memory to what caused the emotion and investigate these causes. Take a few minutes to answer each of the questions below and internalize your findings


In case of anger / irritation

  • Is it really anger, of perhaps a feeling of helplessness which expressed in irritation or anger towards the person?
  • What did the person do, and how did he feel just before he did it?
  • Did the person do it intentionally, or was it just an uncontrollable outburst of emotions?
  • Was the person capable of not doing what he did, or express his feelings in a more proper way under the given circumstances?
  • Can you, by investigating your anger and answering these questions, let go this feeling, because you see there is actually no ground for your anger, or that the feeling doesn’t bring any closer to the solution?


In case of helplessness

  • Look whether or not it realistic to think that you could have achieved what you wanted, under the given circumstances and in regard to the problems of the person?
  • Can you accept from yourself that you are not almighty and that you are not able to accomplish everything you want?
  • Can you look at the suffering of the person and at the same time accept the maybe you are not able to take away this suffering; regardless how much you would like this?
  • If you can see what you cannot do and if you can accept that, can you then also see what you can do? (like offering comfort, warmth, timely distraction in order to prevent stress, telling the person in a warm way that you are not able to give him what he wants, etc)
  • Can you, by focusing on what you can do instead of what you cannot do, let go the feeling of helplessness, and focus on your positive actions without any guarantee that it will work?


In case of fear

  • What was the threat, what could happen to you?
  • How serious would the harm for you really be? Would it be only mental/emotional, or also physical?
  • Can you avoid mental/emotional harm by realizing that the behavior of the person most likely has nothing to do with you as an individual? That it is an expression of frustration, fear or helplessness of the person, and you are the trigger of his focus at this moment.
  • Is the physical harm that can happen really so bad? (compare it with physical pain of sports injuries)
  • If you really think you can’t bear the physical pain, can you then take precautions that give you the protection you need? (like support of a colleague or training in non-violent physical defensibility)
  • Can you, by reducing the fear to manageable proportions prevent that your actions are fully domineered by your fear?


In case of aversion

  • Investigate what aspects of the person evoke this aversion in you?
  • Look if the person can do anything about this himself?
  • Can you list a number of positive aspects of the person and make those more important than the aspects you don’t like?
  • Do you know people who do not have this aversion towards the person, but who like him?
  • Can you accept that – if there are people who like the person – your aversion has nothing to do with the person, but only with you? It’s something in your own mind only.

When you do this practice with persons who evoke strong emotions in you, it is helpful to start this practice only imaginary when the person is not around; relaxed moments during or at the end of your shift, on your way home after work, etc.

You can do this practice by yourself, but also in a dialogue with a colleague after an incident that happened. Together you can follow the steps of this practice and your colleague can ask you the questions.


Application in daily life

In the beginning it can be hard to apply this directly during your work. But the more you have practiced after work, the easier you can switch during your work and apply this approach directly in the moment of stress.

When you are also experienced in the practices of the three good principles and loving presence, you can when you start an interaction that you know by experience will evoke these emotions, place yourself in the position of the person and imagine how he will feel and what he needs.