I used to hate the feeling that emerged whenever I was triggered. If I read an email that didn’t sit right with me, had an interaction with a co-worker that had me spinning, or an argument with my partner that went south, I would run from the feelings of shame, rejection, or anger and blame the person who triggered me for my feelings.
After studying coaching and psychology for the better part of 20 years, I have come to view triggers as opportunities. Opportunities to explore. Explore the edges of my emotional life that may still require some attention.
In Robert Schenfeld’s book “Busting Loose from the Money Game”, he uses the metaphor of an Easter Egg Hunt. The triggers are Easter eggs with treasures inside. Every time someone or something triggers you, you can view it as treasure.
The treasure is the lesson that you can still learn. A piece of your emotional life that can be re-tooled.
Instead of running away from the triggers, you can move towards them and view them as an opportunity to learn something about yourself.
The best space to be in when you are triggered is in a state of curiosity. Observe your thoughts and feelings when you are triggered and get curious. Curious as to WHY you might be feeling and thinking this way.
When we are curious, we are open to learning and discovering parts of ourselves that may be blocked.
I often find that these tend to be familiar feelings that get stirred up which, in turn, can be an opportunity to move past them once and for all if you are curious and open to creating something different.
What if you looked at your triggers as treasures, opportunities, or as an expedition to clean up what isn’t serving you?
The next time you have an interaction with someone and you walk away feeling upset, remind yourself that this is a little treasure hunt. Ask yourself, why am I feeling this way? What am I making it mean? Is this feeling familiar to me? Follow that feeling and see if you can find the first time it took hold.
Stay curious and open. See if you can discover when and why it started and if you want to continue feeling this way when these situations happen…….
If you struggle to unpack it, seek out a coach, or a trusted friend to unwind it. This is where the good stuff is. Happy Treasure Hunting.
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