Category Archives: triggers

The Surprising Gift of Triggers

I’ve recently been having conversations with a friend that are proving triggersome. (Is that even a word? Ah well, it is now.) Basically, the sharing and exploration of ideas, dreams, and desires is bringing up a decent amount of triggers for me – triggers that I didn’t necessarily expect, though probably knew were there, lurking behind some vision board somewhere. In other words, though delightful, they are also somewhat challenging at times.

What is a trigger? Well, it’s something that can blind-side you and almost always causes a reaction much greater than the stimulus itself. I liken it to poking the bear. One poke in just the right spot might awaken it and turn it into a crazy raving animal. The reaction outweighs the stimulus.

In all my years of traveling on this journey of mine, I can safely say that I’ve never welcomed the pokes… until now. Now, something has shifted, and I see the triggers as little gifts. I see them as opportunities to address and release (or properly catalog) something that needed attention, something that was unknowingly holding me back from being my whole self more consistently.

It’s a different approach that I am enjoying discovering and playing with. On the one hand, rather than just being triggered, I am also aware of the triggers, which actually makes the trigger less powerful. It also splits my attention between that of witness and main character, which is intriguing and leads to a tiny bit of a fog sometimes as I navigate the new terrain, but is pretty cool to walk through. And on the other hand, I find myself feeling excited for the shift and the change that I know is in progress, and so I am more tolerant of the ebbs and flows of thought, emotion, and questions that are arising. In short, I am finding that I am more peaceful and compassionate with myself, while also feeling curious about what’s going on.

The result is that it’s allowing me to engage in these discussions with my friend from a different place. A healthier, stronger, more curious place, because I don’t have any specific attachment to anything. I don’t have an agenda other than to be open to the change in me that these interactions – these triggers – are manifesting.

There is an old saying that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, and I believe that to be mostly true. (I think everyone is in our life for a reason). I think some folks move in and out of our lives seasonally, like stitches in clothing; while others run alongside us for lifetimes like sidewalks across a road. Both are worthwhile, and both can trigger us at different points – hence, both have their reasons. We just don’t always know what the reason is.

For me, these conversations are a gift, because they’re allowing me to create awareness to things that needed my attention. So, I don’t mind being triggered. It means I’ve been given an opportunity to let go of something that no longer serves me. It also means I’m creating an opportunity to live more fully, deeply, and with greater joy, passion, and meaning. The definition of ‘win-win.’


The Gift of Triggers

Triggers and Opportunities

I recently had a conversation with a dear friend during which I got triggered. Badly.

You see, we all have this stuff. Stuff that comes up from our past (or past lives) that serve as hot buttons for us and exacerbate our emotions in a way that is inconsistent with the actual stimulus of what’s going on.

The easy way to say that?

Triggers are what happens when we react in a disproportionate manner to whatever just happened, because we’re caught up in our own stuff, emotionally.

So, what happened with me? I was having a fun conversation with someone I care about regarding the changes I am making in my own life for greater health and wellness, and suddenly… Boom! Triggered. I can’t say exactly what did it, but there I was, heading into my reptilian brain (fight, flight, freeze), and losing my grasp on the actual conversation, and that’s ok. It’s what we all do. It’s normal.

Here’s the cool thing though: After I recognized what was going on, rather than continuing on the path of reaction I chose to tell my friend that I was stepping away from the conversation, because it was triggering me.

The simple act of recognizing and owning what was going on gave me enough pause and perspective to choose something else.

Yes, I was still being triggered, and yes, I was still in a semi-emotional state, but I was engaging with it, rather than pushing it away. Then the most awesome thing happened: I said to my friend, “this is a learning moment for me.” And it was! I suddenly realized I could use the trigger to re-engage in a healthy manner with something I had stuffed away. Hooray!

I finally see triggers as a gift. Yup, a gift. They’re an opportunity for us to look at, accept, and let go of something that is keeping us from being our whole selves. They are obstacles on our path of life that we put in place long ago, and often continue to reinforce by fearing them and stuffing them when they show up.

Instead of giving them that level of disconnection, if we look at them as opportunities to learn and move forward they become springboards for us to jump further down our path more easily. We end up leapfrogging in our growth and understanding.

So, those obstacles that looked like boulders are now trampolines that we can use to propel ourselves further along with less effort and more flow. How cool is that?

Triggers as opportunities. I’m liking it. 🙂