Has anyone ever said or done something to you and it had your blood boiling, made you feel like crawling out of your skin with anxiety, shaking with rage, or just plain exhausted from a multitude of extremely negative emotions?
Then you have been TRIGGERED!!!!!
This word has been buzzing around in my world quite a bit over the past few years as I am on a path of self-discovery
What exactly is a trigger?
A trigger is a response to a person, situation, event, dialogue, reading, film, or other content-providing entity, that provokes a strong emotional reaction. Basically, this response kicks us out of being our most authentic selves.
It is very common that we are not self aware when we are triggered, and fall into reacting prior to sifting through our strong emotional response.
I remember the first time that I learned about “triggers’ specific to me and just exactly what that meant. As I was struggling with certain relationships in my life and always blaming the other person for making me feel badly, my close friend brought to my attention that no one could make me feel those negative emotions. I realized that there is something within me that triggers the emotion and that I actually DO have control over how I feel.
Instead of blaming the outside world, triggers are an indicator that something within us is unhealed.
These “triggers” are unresolved feelings that we have experienced in past traumatizing situations and are a reflection of internal battles that we have going on.
When I first was introduced to this accountability-taking concept, it sounded crazy to me! NO!! I was not buying it!! -But she said this!! And he said that!! It was rude! It was mean!! It was disrespectful!! It was condescending! And that made me feel…
When I am triggered I want to shut that person down because it has LIT me up on the inside so much. By shutting that person down I am really just shutting this emotion down and reflecting how I actually feel about myself.
The truth of the matter is that not everyone is going to say and do things that you like. If you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you, you WILL suffer endlessly.
So how do we maintain calm while being triggered and turn an external response into internal processing?
What I have discovered is that the key to healing this part of us is to look INSIDE.
These wounds have NOTHING to do with current events and typically stem from childhood, usually created between 0 to 7 years old. This is the time when we really started experiencing the intensity of our emotions.
Have you ever heard the expression
“you have to feel it to heal it” ?
Well this is the work. When you experience a trigger, go back and feel that emotion. Whatever just happened externally…think of how it makes you feel internally. Don’t push it down - you need to really sit in it. This may take a little time and full presence to acknowledge and take complete responsibility of the part of you that feels abandoned…. disrespected….unworthy…...or whatever it is. Just allow yourself to be in it… and remember that it doesn't last forever. And if you don’t choose to face it, it will just continue to appear in different situations until you do.
We can only truly be in an emotion for about 90 seconds, and then the brain kicks us out of it. Now your job is to see what happens next. How do you want to manifest yourself back into your authentic place? This could possibly lead you into another emotion….and another...and then all of a sudden you have a fresh perspective and a new realization. This realization is the activation of the healing process.
Eventually these triggers stop having the effect which they once did. If you are doing the work of self-inquiry and reflection, as the adult perspective unfolds, we are able to observe “The Stuff”, these wounds- and realize what they are. “Oh, that’s my abandonment issues”, or “Oh, that’s my trust issues”. It will eventually stop happening because we aren’t projecting it our own unresolved issues on to the world anymore. You get what you give, and when you stop projecting “your Stuff” to the world..... The world stops giving you “Your Stuff”.
Use these new insights into yourself to better deal with your emotions and with others. Get curious about your triggers and play detective with them instead of shutting them down.
When you are able to go into these shadow parts of yourself and breathe presence into them-they dissolve into far less powerful versions of themselves. With enough work you can even leave some behind for good. The moment I started consciously feeling my emotions is when everything started changing for me, and I began my transformation. This is a choice that we all have, in every moment ….to choose to Respond and not to React. To make emotional choices which reflect the healed state of our higher selves. To have recycled our pain into the power of presence and inner peace.