“I’m an actor who believes we all have triggers to any stage of emotion. It’s not always easy to find but it’s still there.”
– Hugh Jackman
Often, we are triggered by what someone else does. It seems as though the resulting emotion came from them… but it is important to remember: We are triggered.
Someone says something in a way that reminds us (or at least our lizard brain) of our ex, our parent, someone at work… We feel a certain way, a physical response to a mental trigger, and we act accordingly. On the receiving end, it can be hard to understand why the other person is acting the way they are. We wonder “What did I say? What did I do?”
In essence, our triggers are shadows… memories of things that no longer exist in the present moment. Our brains are fearful things at times. They are designed to keep us safe, but our brains are also susceptible to seeing shadows as ghosts. We notice the way that someone says something… our brain recalls a time in the past when something similar was said and brings back the emotion of that experience as well… perhaps because it was never released. We experience that emotion in the present, applying it to the current situation with the subconscious assumption that it is the same situation. Then, we project that feeling into the future… assuming that this situation will end like the last time… and we react to defend or protect ourselves.
We have time traveled out of the present moment, returned with a feeling from the past, and then carried that feeling into the future. All in the blink of an eye. Often, to our dismay, the outcome of our time meddling is not the one we want… and we are left to wonder what went wrong.
We must recognize triggers in others and in ourselves. Recognize the fleeting burst of emotion, and try to follow it to its source. Or perhaps just choose to let it go. Many things don’t matter that much.
The more we can strive to recognize our own triggers, as well as the triggers of others, the more we can guide our actions to come from a place of presence and clarity. If we allow our emotional reactions to be our guides, then we will not move closer to our true selves or our true desires. Bringing awareness to our triggers and resulting emotions is a step toward full self-discovery…and ultimately mastery.
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
– Carl Jung