Have you ever been so frustrated or upset with someone that you couldn't stand the visceral venom coursing through your blood? The antidote to the pain is to say whatever is on the tip of your tongue. Anything to get the uncomfortable out of you, regardless of the consequences. However, as soon as the negative words slip past your lips, you regret it, knowing your daggers are about to land. The bigger the hurt in you, the bigger the wound you'll inflict.
This week, I was in this exact situation. I felt the trigger. I silently acknowledged it, like the good therapist in me would. But it didn't matter, the uncomfortable feelings inside of me needed to be released. Instead of biting my tongue and working through my uncomfortable trigger, or talking about it calmly, I reacted out of frustration and fear.
I witnessed the words coming out of my mouth, already regretting them as the slipped past my lips. I wish I could have scooped them up in my arms, and shoveled them back in before they landed on the person I love.
I think it's fair to say, that we've all experienced this moment in a relationship, whether romantic or platonic, when we say something we don't mean. It usually stems from fear, frustration, or anger. It's what you do next that's imperative to the health of your relationship, as well as for yourself.
Would you like a slice of Humble Pie? Sometimes you have to spend the night pouring over the ingredients of your emotions, pounding out the crusty bits of what you've just experienced. Then, you have to build the goopy layers of an apology and mean it upon delivery.
It's messy. It's exhausting. It's hard to look in the mirror, and admit when you're wrong. It's hard to ask for forgiveness. Why is it hard? Becuase our ego's the architect of our pride. And upon inspection, if there're fissures in the foundation of our character, the ego will erect defensive walls. Before you know it, you're justifying the hurtful thing you said, out of defense, rather than crafting a vulnerable, thoughtful, and conscious response.
Maybe in those moments of a trigger storm, your feelings are valid and justifiable? Maybe the pain inside is so great that the person on the receiving end should be well equipped at containing your fears? Maybe we should all be so evolved that we can face our triggers alone, and wiggle our way through that dark maze by healing them on a yoga mat? Maybe, or maybe not.
We all have a personal responsibility to manage and control our internal state. That is the ONLY thing we can control. When you master that, you can master how you love yourself, as well as your people. This creates your ultimate life experience.
If you're confronted with a situation where you feel justified by your trigger, there's a healthy way to handle it, and there's a wildly unhealthy way to handle it.
Ready to Soul Stretch?
When you feel triggered by someone's actions, simply identify everything your reaction:
Where in your body are you feeling it?
Is it hot or cold?
Does it have a visceral weight to it?
Does it have color or texture?
This helps you extract yourself from the situation, giving you a 30,000 ft perspective. From this vantage point, you defuse the energy in your body and make it less likely to react unconsciously. You're bringing conscious awareness and mindfulness to the situation, allowing you to transmute the negative feelings. Subsequently, your emotions won't be hijacked. Making it less likely that you'll inflict irreparable damage.
Next, try on an "I feel" statement.
I LOVE THESE! I teach them to the families and the couples I work with. It goes like this...
When you feel triggered by someone say, "I feel (upset, frustrated, hurt, scared, or alone) when you XYZ."
Identify the feeling that you feel when your partner does something that hurts you, then name what it is that's hurting you.
Rather than hurling painful remarks at the person who triggered you, simply breath and say what you're feeling, and why you think you're feeling it. In this scenario, you're not asserting blame. You're consciously owning your soul's experience. Get uncomfortable and vulnerable. It's ok!
You then can request what you'd like to experience instead. You can ask your partner to speak to you in a different tone, give you space, or even have them hold you while you're feeling your negative feels.
If you've already gone as far as to say something hurtful because you're hurting... own it! Backtrack and say, "I'm sorry. I was in pain, and I was triggered. What I should have explained to you was what I was feeling, and why I was feeling it."
This is the conscious way to communicate. This is the way to stand in love, not in fear.
If you say something hurtful, forgive yourself. Invite love back into your life. This is the humble approach to saying, "I'm sorry".
This Soul Stretch is you loving your relationship to others, as well as yourself! It takes practice! It may feel uncomfortable and cumbersome at first. However, when you master it, you can teach this to the people in your life, adults and children alike. This sets the bar as to how you would like to communicate and grow within your relationships. You have the opportunity to elevate the consciousness of those around you, ultimately enriching life experiences!
Share this Soul Stretch with your partner, a friend, or your family, and start building a better foundation for communication and internal peace.
Tell me, *|FNAME|*, when was the last time you were triggered and exploded out of anger or frustration? How did you handle the aftermath? What would you have done differently? Does this Soul Stretch seem doable to you?
I just want to drop a big thank you in your lap for showing up for yourself, devoting time to read this and to honor your soul's growth. You've got this! I believe in you!