For some people, getting triggered is the gateway to an abrupt, disruptive, and sometimes debilitating emotional reaction. Something or someone presses one of our buttons, and we lose our cool causing us to either rage like a maniac, hide and lick our wounds, or freeze like a deer on a midnight mountain pass.
The common denominator of all these reactions is fear.
The common requirement after such a response is a time out: maybe three minutes, three hours, or three days until we come back into ourselves.
When I get triggered, it is usually because I feel fear for the loss of my security. If I do not catch myself before my watch-dog amygdala kicks back in full combat mode, I get swept away in anger, frustration, or discouragement. And then it is a process to recover to stasis where I can return to what I am committed to in life and who I desire to be.
Fear makes us vulnerable to behaving in ways that we don’t desire for ourselves. It takes us out of the game. But what is it, actually, that we so easily give our power to? What is it that has us betray our commitment to ourselves, our kids, our dreams, and our spiritual connection?
Our ancestors needed to constantly scan their environment for chaos, disruption, and potential threats. Identifying chaos, being triggered by it, feeling fear, and then responding to it was how they lived to see another day.
Somewhere along the line, the dangers of those ancestral days became more of a discomfort. Our chaos is not usually life-threatening anymore.
Many of our fears these days have to do with being excluded from community, which has its own repercussions, let’s be honest, especially if we care very much about what others think and how we might be judged.
But if we worry so much about being excluded from society, we often betray ourselves and our own soulful self-expression. Fitting in is often incongruent with spiritual freedom.
Our culture has us in a place of discomfort: We feel internal, soulful discomfort when we are faced with anything that doesn’t align with who we really are (with that gut feeling), and we feel discomfort when our environment threatens us with exclusion if we don’t conform to that which is strangling our soulful expression, the expression of who we really are.
Our soul needs self-expression, because self-expression is a form of self-care and a means to honouring our soul’s purpose. We need to be allowed to say no to people when they place compromising expectations before us; to say no to situations that do not honour our highest experience of our Divine nature; and to say yes only when it feels right by our intuition, our gut, the voice of our heart.
How often do we shut down that intuition to be nice and not offend someone else so that we don’t get ostracized or feel awkward? Belonging is a powerful need.
But belonging is different than fitting in, and so many of us confuse the two. Belonging honours who we really are. Fitting in has us change who we are to be accepted by those around us.
Bypassing this fear reaction and expressing our free will is possible, and it takes something. It takes preparation. It takes harnessing our energy and exercising our free will such that we have access to our maximum energy so we can direct it, intentionally, toward the things we desire. We need to release the energy that is tied up in past traumas and unfreeze the energy we are holding for our future by activating our gifts and talents and expressing them into the world. This is how we maximize our energy and our freedom to express our will.
When we do not do this work, practice our desires, or prepare for how we deal with our triggers, we default to our nurture, the social programming that sets us up for emotional blackouts. Life becomes a crapshoot. Every trigger feels like the chaos of a sabre-tooth tiger.
The fear of the discomfort of being judged for who we are is what we are trading our soul’s purpose for. That is what we are giving up our dreams for. That is what is keeping us from living our passions. That is not the life we want: mediocre or horrible, or both.
Our triggers can be signals instead of cannonballs. When we recognize that there is no life-threatening circumstance around us, we can stop. We can stop before our amygdala kicks in, before we get swept away by fight, flight, or freeze. We can stop and choose how we communicate with the emotion that follows so we don’t need time-outs. We can stop and fulfill what we have prepared for and be who we have committed to being.
We can choose to live, expressing our passions. We can harness our energy and ward off all the tigers. We can belong with the Divine energy that we are made of as full expressions of our soulful selves.
So much love,