Let’s face it: all of us are triggered by something. And, if we’re being honest, that something is actually a lot of things. Sometimes we’re triggered by something that a partner says to us, and other times we get triggered by something that comes completely out of left field, like a remark from a co-worker or even overhearing something in a conversation at the grocery store.
But what exactly are triggers? And, more importantly, what can we learn from them?
First of all, there are a lot of different ways we can look at the triggers in our life. But the easiest most concise way to understand them is that they’re some sort of emotional wound that has never been healed. If the trigger elicits a major emotional response, then it’s likely that you’ve been refusing to face whatever that wound was — and for quite some time.
Triggers, despite their negative connotation, really aren’t a bad thing. In fact, there’s a whole lot we can learn from them if we just allow ourselves the time and space to really understand what they’re trying to communicate. When this work gets done, not only do you finally heal that neglected emotional wound, but you begin to repair damage done to relationships and, in some cases, that has an even more profound effect.
How do you heal triggers?
Healing triggers all starts with finding a new way to understand and view the world around us, including the people in it. By observing what triggers us, we can start to elevate ourselves beyond the emotional response, which allows us to really begin healing. The first step, then, is observing and identifying our emotional triggers.
In order to identify your emotional triggers, you need to give yourself space to really observe. Some of the best ways to do this include setting an intention (“I want to see my emotional triggers today”), journaling after you were triggered so that you can start to see patterns, and then looking for the actual causes behind your triggers. Remember, even though other people seem to be triggering us, it’s really ourselves that is doing the triggering.
How do you learn from your triggers?
Once you’ve started identifying your triggers, you can begin to use them to really grow and transform, which will have a major impact on all of your relationships. The first step to begin learning from your triggers is to start viewing the emotions that arise as just energy. Rather than labeling emotions as good or bad, or identifying with them, just observe them as a change in energy, like clouds moving across the sky. From there, you can begin to actually find gratitude in your triggers, seeing them as powerful teachers rather than something to be ashamed of or something you should try to hide or suppress.
The more you can start to relate positively to your triggers, the more space you’ll create to actually begin to heal and grow.
Of course, it takes time and practice to learn how to transform your triggers into something positive. But, doing the work pays off. By addressing your triggers and discovering a new way to relate to them, you can actually reduce their occurrences because you’ll start to heal the root wound that caused them in the first place.
Learning from your triggers and growing because of them is a natural process. That means, when it doesn’t feel right, don’t push yourself to address your triggers head on. Again, creating space and learning how to re-associate with your triggers is key. Go slowly and remember that the work you do will benefit everyone, including those you love the most.