Originally published September 1, 2020
Have you ever had that situation where you are talking with someone and something triggers you? Their voice, use of particular language, a word, a sentence or phrase, the way perhaps they stand or even they way they behave? What is it that specifically triggers you? The trigger is about you.
Typically when I encounter this situation and I’m triggered, the question is what is it specifically that has me up in arms and why? Has this happened before? When did it happen and how was I when it happened at that time? Everything I see, hear or even believe move through my filters of beliefs, experience, knowledge and intuition.
I once took a personal development workshop that had me up in front of strangers and friends; voluntarily of course. The exercise was to find my trigger and how I reacted. What in God’s name was I thinking? Why would I put myself into a place where ‘friends’ would say things that would trigger me? What’s the harm really?
So there I was in front of about 12 or so strangers and about 10-12 friends. Each friend told me how they experienced me. The comments ranged from ‘I experience you as fake to I experience you as ugly’. I remember shutting down around how the 4th person experienced me and really challenged myself to come back to the present to hear the rest. I remember thinking, what the hell was I thinking doing this and who did these people think they were in telling me these things. They were, in fact, supposed to be friends, people I knew well. How could they ‘experience’ me in any of these ways they’ve shared? It was there, at that moment, I found my triggers, my hot spots. Where did I go? What did I do, how did I react? I withdrew to the point where I no longer listened, zoned out, cursed quite a lot but fought back to come to the present. It was in that moment, I knew I had to make change to release the power of certain beliefs I had about myself.
In Byron Katie’s book; ‘Loving What Is’, she talks about challenging beliefs and finding the evidence to prove the beliefs we have about ourselves, about certain situations. Well, I can tell you, I use that all the time now.
The above exercise was helpful in teaching me where I go when I hear those or other ‘triggering’ words. It, also, proved to me that there was ‘projection’ from the ones who spoke those harsh words to me. I didn’t have any emotion or reaction to a few of the statements, which to me meant I have no real attachment. I wondered then, how often have I felt jealous or shameful about something and projected those feelings onto some poor soul? How often do we do this daily? Do we check in with our own feelings before we speak our peace or speak with intention? I find it funny, how many will say I’m speaking my truth and I don’t really care how you take it. When I speak my truth I’m doing it in a way that is always kind, I don’t want to ‘experience’ anyone in a way that is harmful or hurtful. Communicating this from a point of view of ‘me or I’ helps in delivery of that message.
I think many of us have triggers, some we don’t acknowledge and some we do. For one moment of peace, wouldn’t it be a lovely gesture to pause, take a breath and check in if what we have to say is for someone else’s benefit or is it for ourselves?
The way I see you is filtered through my beliefs, my experiences, my knowledge and my intuition. The way you see me is the same. I choose to question what I want to reply with, how I reply and why I want to reply all because that is within my own power to do so.
I choose to experience you with open eyes, an open heart and an awareness that perhaps you are not walking the same path as I am. From here I can really choose to see you.
How do you see, how do you experience others?