I suspect this could be a bit of a controversial post because it may trigger some people. But, it’s what feels alive in me to explore right now so I’m going there. Read on if you’re up for potentially being triggered. 😉
Let me start by sharing my understanding of the word. A trigger is something that elicits an emotional response of any sort. Commonly it’s used for emotional responses like fear, anger, confusion – the ones most folks deem negative or undesirable.
Hence, most people I know speak of being triggered like it’s a bad thing. They may not use those words or that language specifically, but there in the energy is a sense of ‘I don’t like this and I don’t want this. I wish it would go away.’
Now whilst there is varying levels of consciousness about whose responsibility it is for that trigger to disappear, still I can’t think of a single person who genuinely gets excited and delighted by finding a trigger. Someone who deeply knows that every trigger is an opportunity for them to learn more about the concept of self that they’ve constructed, and to release more of that story.
Perhaps with the exception of Deb Maes, I’m the only one I know who gets gleeful when I meet someone triggering. I lean into it rather than pull away from it. I move in closer to the person so I can spend more time with them.
Any trigger is a pointer to a sense of self – the identity construct. They point to the place where psyche/personality construct deviates from the infiniteness we truly are in spirit. And in doing so, they offer us an opportunity to reevaluate that space, and reconsider if it’s currently useful. This is helpful when there are conditioned programs that were installed years ago (in childhood most likely) and haven’t been audited since.
One of the reasons I partnered Michael for 5 years is that he triggered me more than anyone I’d ever met before. He elicited all the emotions I hadn’t yet released about my dad and my brother when I was a child. And that was the way he supported me in polishing – cleaning up my act – so I no longer walk through the world charged AF about the things that “others” are doing.
I will forever be grateful to that man for his service to my Deeper Self in that capacity. Moreover though, I’m grateful to my Deeper Self for drawing me in and demanding I linger in that space until there was no friction left.
A friend recently described those types of relationships as “a battleground for self development.” Implied in the metaphor is that this is not ideal relating. And I disagree. In my eyes it is such a beautiful gift to give someone to trigger them in any way.
Previously, however, I’ve been so cautious about maintaining rapport that I’ve apologised when someone has felt triggered about something in my space. Years ago I would have taken responsibility for it (i.e. “I’m sorry I made you feel that way.”) but in more recent years I’ve just said (“I’m sorry that was in your experience.”). Now though, even that feels misaligned.
I’m hearing people talk about triggers and I’m observing I care less about staying in rapport than ever before. I want to squeal with glee “YAY! How wonderful that this experience has been brought to you. What a perfect opportunity to polish those smudges and see yourself even more clearly!”
I’m aware that responding in this manner could potentially piss them off. They could upset themselves with the thought that I don’t get them. Or any number of other thoughts that could provoke an experience of disconnectedness within them.
But I’m noticing that responding in that way feels far more aligned recently than maintaining the cultural narrative that triggering experiences are unfortunate incidents.
Just like we can only rewrite a CD when it’s in writable mode, we can only rewire our emotional responses when we get triggered and that neural ensemble becomes active. Hence, the triggering experience is the doorway that gives us the opportunity to enter a new reality. We choose how we enter that doorway. We can do it like we’ve always done, or we can choose something novel. But if we don’t get triggered, we don’t get that opportunity.
Our emotional freedom relies upon our mindful meeting of triggers. So this post is an invitation for you to join me in celebrating your triggers – those blessed beings you see at home and at work that you experience as irritating AF. Could it be that they’ve been sent to liberate you from your false sense of self and perhaps reveal an action you’re being invited to experiment with?
Some questions which serve me when I’m experiencing a trigger:
What’s the story I’m telling myself right now?
What emotions am I feeling inside my body?
What specifically am I seeing in this person?
What would I like to accuse them of?
How is that accusation true of me?
What is showing up to be released right now? (Breathe evenly into the heart and let that 💩 go)
What aligned action is this experience pointing me towards?
I’ve noticed that when I adjust in the way I’m being directed to (do the thing I’m guided to do) the trigger vanishes. When we get the memo, our Deeper Self doesn’t need to keep sending it in the form of charge.
And then things get even more fun! This game has many levels. May we all appreciate playing whatever one we’re currently on. 🙏
P.S. enLIGHTen UP, my upcoming book, talks a lot about emotional triggers so if this is valuable to you, you might wanna pre-order that… 😉