Today, we’re talking TRIGGERS! – what they are, and why you should celebrate them!
You may have heard someone express annoyance, frustration, disappointment or angst lately using the term “triggered”.
Like, “uhh, my boss triggers me”, or “that tv commercial triggers me”.
It’s becoming a popular way to express the idea that a person, thing, or event has stirred up a negative emotion.
It’s becoming popular, because it’s a really effective metaphor!
I mean, you can see it, can’t you?
The perpetrator or the cause of the trigger says or does something, and the other person has an instant, almost reflexive response to it. Instant anger, instant annoyance, instant disgust.
The one using this term often refers to the cause of the trigger as something to be avoided in the future, like “I don’t want to be around that person, she triggers me.”
So first, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of what that trigger really is. When something “triggers” you, in other words – evokes an instant negative feeling, then that person, that thing, that event or situation… has just bumped up against your belief system.
Whatever was just said or done in that moment has either subtly or blatantly jabbed at a belief you hold about yourself or the world around you.
As an easy example, when someone cuts you off in traffic, and you instantly get annoyed, that person has just bumped up against your belief about how people should drive in traffic. You may even think something like, “What a jerk! That was rude!”
Chances are, you’d be right. They absolutely could be a selfish, insensitive a-hole.
But here’s where it gets good – I’m gonna challenge you today to think a little differently. I’m gonna challenge you to think of that trigger – that pop of annoyance -- as an opportunity… for… YOU.
There’s nothing in this for the other guy – he’s long gone, probably has cut off 6 other people by now – this is JUST for YOU.
Because the truth is – the TRIGGER is all YOU. The jolt of annoyance is a gift to you, to dig deep into WHY you gave a random stranger the power to annoy you.
I know this sounds crazy, but bear with me here… it’ll all make sense (if I can do a good job explaining it)…
Emotions, especially negative emotions, can hit us so dang quick that we are usually unaware of the instantaneous thoughts we had that created the emotion.
So here’s an example of what might have occurred, but in slow motion:
Now all of this is happening instantaneously and subconsciously, mind you. The emotion is escalating as it becomes more about her than it is about the guy who cut her off.
Now… same scenario, but let’s say the gal who got cut off has a high degree of self-respect, and has made a habit out of standing up for herself and expecting a healthy dose of respect from those she associates with. Same scenario in slow motion:
And she forgets about it and continues her commute.
Do you see the difference, and how the “trigger” itself is rarely about the thing that just happened, and more about some unfulfilled and unacknowledged part of ourself that needs care and attention?
If you want further proof, remember a time when you were feeling stressed or overwhelmed and how every little inconvenience felt like a kick to the shin.
When I’m feeling stressed, I can get annoyed when I have to push the On button for the dishwasher a second time because it didn’t work the first time I pushed it.
That trigger of annoyance isn’t for my dishwasher, it’s for me – maybe I need to take a break, maybe I need to allow myself more time in the morning, maybe I need to get the dishwasher repaired.
Regardless, the trigger is an OPPORTUNITY for me, not something to be avoided.
So give this some thought next time you get “triggered” by something or someone.
Each one of these emotions has a root that can be traced back to something that you have power over!
Those emotions come from feeling victimized and powerless and “less than”.
Find out what that root cause is that’s causing you to feel those emotions, commit to doing something about it, and you’ll be on your way to a happier life.
Hope that helps! See you in the next episode!