There is a lot of triggering going on right now.
We’re triggered by the news. We’re triggered by politics. Many people (for some reason) seem to be triggered by the bodies of celebrities.
We’re in a time of constant upheaval and growth. Our old ideas and systems are being replaced by ways of thinking that benefit our communities as a whole — and not just a select few individuals.
Whenever power structures change, we are all called upon to look at our roles in these systems. Part of stepping into our soul’s purpose is reckoning with what makes us uncomfortable and what brings others discomfort.
Change isn’t easy, and it’s always accompanied by a loss. Even good change.
One of the most important challenges we deal with as we grow and tune into our soul’s purpose is our own triggers — and the way they’re uncovered by the people around us.
A Trigger Is an Opportunity
While leaning into your spiritual awakening can be an amazing experience for you (though it may not always feel so great), it can feel extremely uncomfortable to those around you. This amazing awakening can invoke growing pains in some relationships.
This discomfort may then lead people you love saying things that may deflate your excitement. These uncomfortable reactions may be their response to feeling triggered or they can in turn trigger you.
But what if we didn’t view triggers as something bad at all? What if we viewed triggers as opportunities to learn something new? To go within and ask ourselves, “Why did that trigger me just now?”
Not everyone is triggered by the same stuff. Triggers by definition aren’t about what’s going on right now, they’re about something that happened in the past. The current situation is reminding you of something that happened in the past and is in turn triggering those previous feelings.
If you’re feeling triggered, these feelings aren’t about the other person: they’re often about you.
A trigger houses wisdom. If we take the time to ask ourselves the important questions, we can harness that wisdom.
Ask yourself, “What is this pain or past experience that I’ve been through?” Or, “What is a pattern that I’m seeing in myself?” Or, “Why am I so rigid about this belief? Why did I get so set off by this trigger?”
Dealing with Triggers Responsibly
Dealing with triggers can feel like risky business. If we don’t deal with them responsibly, we can end up feeling disappointment or regret. We can even start to feel as though we’re moving further away from our soul’s purpose instead of toward it.
When you feel triggered, take these steps to deal with your feelings (and the feelings of others) responsibly.
Take five deep breaths
Taking five deep breaths simply creates space between you and the trigger.
It reminds you that your emotions aren’t you. They are simply alarm bells that signal there’s something unresolved going on here.
We want to communicate responsibly and not from a triggered mindset.
What is the soft spot?
What is the tender spot in that trigger that was touched?
Try to (gently) think back to what could be triggering this reaction now. Is your response valid? Or are you simply projecting a past situation onto the current one?
Send the soft spot love. Love that part of you that might have been left previously unseen or unheard.
Send the energy back
Just as we are all triggered by current events that may dig up the past, others may also feel this triggering sometimes, too.
When you tell people about your spiritual awakening, it’s possible that you may hear things like, “Who’s put this in your head?” Or, “Why do you need to go changing things?”
Sometimes your loved ones may act like they’re supporting you on the outside, but on the inside, they’re hiding how they really feel.
They may even want to be supportive of these changes, but instead of trying to understand these changes, they become avoidant. This avoidance may lead to their true feelings bubbling to the surface, presenting themselves as passive-aggressivity or negativity.
Repressed feelings often get projected.
These words can feel really triggering, but it’s important to not let those triggers deflate your balloon of excitement and wonder over your newfound purpose.
One of the ways that we do this is by sending the energy back to the person.
So, when you’re in a conversation — if you’re having one of those challenging conversations — recognize that this person is communicating to you, based on who they are.
Their reactions are all about them and have nothing (or very little) to do with you.
Just like when someone accidentally throws a ball over a fence and we throw it back (without anger or judgment), we can lob back any energy that isn’t ours, too. Again, we don’t need to do this with anger or judgment, we can just send it back with intention by repeating silently to ourselves:
I know who I am. I know how I’m growing. I know what I want out of this life. This is becoming more and more solidified every day.
I’m not going to put up with any of this other stuff. I’m not going to take on someone else’s energy.
Be mindful of emotions that don’t belong to you
Sometimes the people around us act out of fear for us more than we act out of fear for ourselves. This fear is often the cause of triggering words or actions.
But part of your growth and journey is learning how to not let the fear or anxiety of others affect who you are. This is a skill that takes time to develop.
Another tactic you can use to combat these triggers is reminding yourself that you are in control of your emotions.
Though you may not be able to control how others act (and let’s be honest, it just isn’t your job to control the actions and emotions of others), you do have control over your own responses. You have control over the energy that others send to you. What you do with that energy is up to you.
Just because you find something triggering, doesn’t mean you need to act on it or give it energy or space in your mind.
You are in control of how things affect you.
Eliminate the negative
One final tip for handling your triggers is avoidance.
This is more of a last resort. If you simply can’t seem to protect yourself from negative thoughts when you’re around certain people, it’s okay to avoid them.
Sometimes people simply can’t wrap their minds around the growth you are experiencing. As a result, they will continually try to bring you back down to their level. In this type of situation, you may need to minimize your contact with the offender or cut ties altogether.
Your energy and mental health are worth protecting. Sometimes that means taking yourself out of a negative situation, and that’s okay.
A spiritual awakening is a beautiful thing, but with it inevitably comes change and discomfort. This is all normal, and learning to deal with your triggers is part of this new growth.
Just remember that you — and you alone — are in control of yourself and your energy.