Triggered

This is so real for me right now. I’ll be honest – I used to roll my eyes when people talked about being triggered. I thought, ‘pah-lease, get over it.’

Super empathetic, right?

In reality, I was triggered all the time I just didn’t know it. I reacted externally over an unconscious story in my head; a story that wasn’t serving me well. How did I come to learn this?

Results. When the results in my life – work, relationships, finances and more – weren’t what I was aiming for…I knew something was off. And I came to figure out that a big piece of that problem was the story I was telling myself (unknowingly at first) about certain situations.

However, even understanding this process and learning how to challenge my old ways of thinking didn’t keep me from having those visceral reactions automatically. I’m talking about those reactions that are so instant, so severe and disconcerting that they leave you thinking, what the hell was that all about?

I’m talking about being triggered!

Someone once told me, if it makes you hysterical, it’s historical. This is a good, helpful reminder as to what causes me to get into that triggered place. This historical perspective can help me put some ‘right thinking’ around the situation to then slowly pull me out of that triggered state. Here’s how:

  • It reminds me that my past is writing a narrative about my present. This is almost always rooted in some sort of lie about my present circumstance. Just because a situation is triggering me doesn’t mean it is the same situation that created the trigger. I won’t solve it in this moment, but just being aware is key.
  • It helps me to remove judgement. This new awareness helps me to stop blaming myself for my reaction, and instead see it for what it is (usually an old self-protective measure that simply does not work anymore). Self judgement many times is, in and of itself, a historical thing too! So I pile pain on pain when I judge myself.
  • It helps me to ask caring questions of myself like, What’s this about? What’s wrong, dear? Just like I would to a friend.
  • This kind of reaction is an opportunity to heal, not a failure of my character. Being triggered tells us there’s still something we need to pay attention to – this is wonderful insight. It’s like we are getting feedback from ourselves and feedback is a gift.

The next time I am triggered, I’m going to practice this awareness and I hope you do too! Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Grace and peace.

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