If you're anything like me, when you get really triggered, you get reactive. My last breakup is a great example. In the difficult process of unwinding the life we'd created together, a lot of painful emotions came up. I felt like a live wire and the littlest things would trip me.
From my triggered state, with my blood boiling, my hackles up, and electrical charges running chaotically through my body, sometimes it felt like too much for me and all I could do is react.
See, your triggers have you believe that you MUST DO something. It's an emergency! And the solution is in controlling, fixing, changing. Make. It. Stop.
But when you do that, you miss out on a lot.
When you believe that there's a "problem" and you locate it "out there," then you tend to get busy setting the boundary, letting that person know you're upset so they never do that thing again, or making decisions to prevent this from ever happening again.
Yes, sometimes that boundary does need to be set and decisions made.
But if you start there, you miss the most important part!
When you feel triggered, there is a part of you begging for your attention.
And this is the most important part because this is where you've got an opportunity to get even closer to yourself.
Now, a lot of folks talk about looking at your triggers so you can "own your shit", which of course is valuable. But so often I see people shame themselves and make themselves wrong under the guise of "owning their shit."
Here's another angle. One that's based in self care and self love.
The next time you get triggered, follow these steps:
- Identify that you're triggered. This one seems obvious, but our trigger says, "I'm not triggered, he's wrong!"
- Patiently and lovingly, the way a good parent might, ask yourself how you're feeling. What emotions are present?
- Really, really listen and stay with how you're feeling. The emotions are likely intense and probably things you don't want to feel (hence the drive to look outside and control or change what's happening. Come back in).
- See if you can get clear about what you need. The trigger says you need to let him know he crossed your boundary, make sure he knows he can't do that, or fix the situation that caused this in the first place, but that's not what I'm talking about. Go deeper. What do you need? (Not what do you need to do out there with someone else.)
- Contact the vulnerable part of you, the one that's feeling a lot. What does she need? To be acknowledged? To have a good cry? To take some cleansing breaths? To write? To sit still for a while?
- Do whatever you can to offer this to yourself, again, the way a loving mother would. Deeply compassionate.
- Then, after you've been taken care of in a really loving way, check in about if there's anything to do "out there."
This is self care at its finest. Being loving and gentle with yourself is a gift that'll pay off tenfold.
What's triggered you recently? And what do you think the deeper cut is? Share about it in the comments section!
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With heaps of self care,
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