From Angry and Triggered to Calm and Centered
I used to have anger management issues.
I would get triggered and completely flip my lid.
I felt powerless to these reactions like I became possessed and out of control.
When I had my children, I realized I needed to get a grip on my reactivity.
Over time, I learned how to work WITH my triggers. To USE them for my healing rather than continue to be abused by them (and then abuse others with them).
I’m telling you the honest-to-God truth (ask my husband and kids) that I am hardly ever triggered anymore. And when I am triggered, it’s mild, and I can find my way to center pretty quickly.
I’m not naive enough to say that I won’t ever get slammed by a trigger again - they ARE part of the healing journey.
But I’m thankful I understand the journey and have the tools to navigate my triggers from an empowered place.
Here’s what I’ve discovered over my own journey and guiding women to work with their triggers over the past decade.
There are three stages of growth and healing when it comes to getting emotionally triggered, and here’s what they look like:
1️⃣ STAGE 1: ABUSED BY OUR TRIGGERS
You get emotionally triggered. You may not even notice because it happens so fast.
You react by lashing out, shutting down, or trying to smooth things over.
If you’re lucky, you avoid saying or doing something you'll regret later.
After the initial event, you find yourself consumed by what happened, unable to fully engage with your family or enjoy the present moment.
You ruminate, seeking validation from friends, wanting to make sense of it all.
Over time, the intensity of the trigger starts to fade.
You feel relief but dread that the next time this situation happens, you will be triggered again.
2️⃣ STAGE 2: AWARE OF OUR TRIGGERS
You get emotionally triggered and immediately notice what it feels like in your body.
You place your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths, reassuring yourself that you will be okay.
You know that a long exhale will engage your parasympathetic nervous system and bring you back into homeostasis.
You don’t act in the moment, knowing that the stimulus is triggering something inside of you.
Instead of seeking validation from others, you stay present to your own experience and continue to regulate your nervous system and center yourself.
As the intensity of the trigger fades and you feel more regulated, you’re so relieved that you didn’t say or do anything you regret.
You like how you’re handling your triggers but wish you wouldn’t get triggered so often.
3️⃣ STAGE 3: USING OUR TRIGGERS
Once your nervous system has become more regulated and you feel calmer, you don’t stop there.
You go into self-inquiry or work with a coach or therapist to reflect on what happened.
If you’re part of The Whole Soul Way Program, you’d do a Dialogue Quadrant™ or Trigger Trail Buddy worksheet (two of the most loved tools in the program), giving space for all of the thoughts, feelings, needs, and voices in your mind to be heard.
As you listen to yourself, you understand why the triggering situation upset and hurt you so deeply.
After you complete the Dialogue Quadrant™ or Trigger Trail Buddy, a sense of peace, confidence, and clarity washes over you.
You feel compassion toward yourself, connecting the situation and feelings to past wounds from times when you were powerless.
You remind yourself that you’re an adult, stepping in to tend to the inner child within you that experienced similar hurt.
You remind her that you’re no longer powerless and take action to have necessary conversations, set boundaries, and take care of yourself by fulfilling your unmet childhood needs.
Instead of turning away from yourself, seeking to blame others, or trying to make sense of the situation externally, you know how to use the trigger as an opportunity for deeper healing.
You recognize that emotional triggers are trailheads leading you to the holes that were created by the original childhood wounds.
We're then invited to fill them with the love, validation, and care we needed as children.
Through journaling, inner child reparenting, and other healing practices, you continue the journey of self-healing so that the next time someone touches that wound, it no longer hurts as profoundly.
As you practice this process over and over, the same triggers no longer affect you as profoundly.
In fact, things that triggered you in the past no longer trigger you anymore.
This is what we may call emotional freedom.
Countless women who I’ve coached over the years or who have participated in The Whole Soul Way program have experienced significant progress in working with their triggers. Very quickly, they move through the stages.
They’ve learned how to work through emotional upsets and difficult situations in moments to a few hours rather than weeks or longer.
So often, when we’re triggered or even just upset, our thoughts become jumbled and unreliable.
When we know how to decode our thoughts, we can use them as signposts, guiding us to their underlying feelings, fears, and needs. This is the essence of true healing.
This transformative work is precisely what we do in The Whole Soul Way program.
We use emotional triggers, upsets, judgments, criticism, and blame as trailheads guiding us to the wounds and holes within ourselves. Through the power of reparenting, we fill those holes and step into wholeness. Imagine the freedom, joy, and mental well-being that come from this profound inner transformation.
Imagine how much energy and energy we can reclaim!
Please know that you are not alone in the react-regret-repeat cycle.
The Whole Soul Way program's tools, guidance, and support can help you break free from this cycle and transform your triggers into opportunities for healing and growth.
Together, through the power of self-awareness, reparenting, and courage, we can reclaim our energy, peace, and innate wholeness. 💫❤️🌟
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