Dealing with our Triggers

By digitalart, published on 09 June 2011 Stock Image - image ID: 10045265

By digitalart, published on 09 June 2011
Stock Image – image ID: 10045265

Most of us have had bad things happen in our lives. Or we’ve at least had the wrong ‘programs’ engraved in our minds. We have picked up patterns that don’t serve us.

We often run across something that triggers that program to run inside our head. Many times, we don’t even realize that the trigger has happened to kick off the program. We are so accustomed to the programs and the triggers that we don’t realize that we have the triggers.

I’ve found that a close friend or spouse can often be the one who helps you reveal your trigger. How we deal with those triggers makes all the difference.

I have a trigger around holidays. For many years, I’ve hated the holidays. They bring up bad thought patterns and unwanted memories for me. When I was young, my parents were divorced and the holidays were always difficult for me. One or both of my parents and their families always seemed to be disappointed that I wasn’t there with them for the holiday. There were often fights surrounding where I would be and when. I just wanted to disappear.

Then as I got older and had to make the decision as to where I would be for the holidays, it just got harder. There was no way to please everyone, but I tried to do so, which meant my holidays were spent on the road making trips to 7 or 8 different places in only 2 days, with several miles in betwen. These trips were made mostly to make sure no one felt left out or got their feelings hurt. Now that both my parents were married, there were grandparents and step-grandparents who expected me to be at their house over the holidays. After I got married, there were his parents and grandparents. It was just too much.

Now, I find myself getting in a bad mood around the holidays. I fight putting up the tree, decorating, preparing big meals, parties and spending all the money on gifts. I can be a real scrooge. And I regret that I may have helped my children to be little scrooges as well. Now they have their own triggers that they will probably have to deal with later.

For a long time, I didn’t realize that the trigger was there. I just thought that, unlike most everyone else, I just didn’t like Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, as I’ve made closer friends who aren’t afraid to tell me the truth, I’ve been made aware of some of my triggers. Of course, pointing out my triggers often makes me angry. I am thankful though that I have friends who love and care for me enough to help me uncover those triggers.

I’m beginning to realize that all triggers are based on fear. As a matter of fact, I’m learning that fear is the root of a lot of our problems. Fear is the opposite of love. Love casts out fear.

So, how should we deal with our triggers? With love. When we love ourselves, we cast out fear. When we love ourselves enough, we won’t be afraid to face the fear. Blame, shame and resentment are fear-based and will never serve us. Love is the answer.

How am I going to deal with triggers around the Holidays? I’m going to love myself enough to say ‘No’ if it’s something that I don’t want to do. I may have to have difficult conversations with people I love about the holidays and let them know that I do love them, but I have other plans. Those who truly love me will understand. Those who don’t may get upset and be mad. But, if I’ve been honest with them and told them the truth and lived in integrity around the subject, that anger is on them, not me.

When it comes down to it, someone will be hurt or upset – either me if I give into their demands, or them if I don’t. Being honest and loving is always the right answer. If it hurts them after I’ve been honest and in integrity with my feelings, maybe they have some triggers of their own that they need to deal with. Helping them uncover those triggers is the most loving thing I can do for them.

I am not saying we shouldn’t compromise. We have a scale – a number system – around our house that we use as a guide for how everyone feels around a certain topic. We check in with everyone to see where they are and then as a family or group decide what we are going to do based on everyone’s feelings. Even if I’m in the minority, everyone knows where I stand and I know where they stand. I sometimes choose to do something out of love for the other person because I now know their honest feelings around the topic. It takes away all the fear and adds clarity to our feelings, intentions and motives. It shows love. It also gives each person a responsibility for their feelings and actions.

So, the first step to dealing with our triggers is realizing that the trigger is there. Once we realize we have the trigger, we should work on getting rid of the trigger. Explore how it was formed and how we can get rid of it – discover the underlying fear and confront it head-on. Then, pour on the love. Love will heal a multitude of fear.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And Shreem!

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