We can think we have healed from something only to be hit by a ton of bricks down the road. Like a slap in the face, our emotional triggers wake us up to our reality as it is, to the unhealed parts of ourselves that we have tried so hard to ignore.
It took me a long time to learn to be grateful for this slap, to listen to it, and to do the work to discover the parts of myself that are still wounded and in need of healing. And to be honest, I’m still learning it. We’re human; whenever something painful takes our breath away or knocks us on our ass, our gut instinct is to do whatever we can to numb it out or to shove it away. But avoiding our triggers doesn’t make them go away, and it isn’t healing. Healing happens when you’re triggered, and you’re able to move through the pain, the pattern, and the story.
I read a quote on Instagram the other day that said, “Our emotional triggers are temperature gauges for our lives. They tell us who’s running the show, who’s pulling our strings, and the temperature at which we’ve been living life.” Triggers are invitations to meet our wounds with curiosity, compassion, and love. They are showing us the parts of ourselves that need US, the parts of ourselves that only we can reach, that only we can heal.
It isn’t up to someone else not to trigger us. It’s our responsibility to manage our triggers and choose how we respond to them. One of the many reasons why we find ourselves impulsively reacting is because we’re not owning them, and we aren’t telling ourselves that it is okay to feel what we feel. It’s up to us to acknowledge our triggers, sit with them, and ask ourselves what’s underneath.
It’s all about going deeper. There is always something behind your behaviors and reactions.
Your triggers are calling you to your growth; they’re your teachers.
The next time you feel triggered, don’t react. Take time to pause and breathe. Name the emotion you are feeling and notice its intensity. And then remind yourself of what’s different now – you are safe now, you are okay, and you don’t need approval. True healing occurs when you give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings live below the triggers.
And above all, be kind to yourself. This healing work is hard stuff. But the life you are looking for is in the work you’re avoiding. And I promise you; it’s beyond worth it.