Truth & Triggers

No matter how “Zen” you may feel when you are in that flow, we all find ourselves thrown out of balance when the wrong person makes the wrong comment at just the wrong time. It almost seems as if they know just what to say at just the right to set you off.

Don’t worry, that is how they deal with the world. They live their life setting everyone around them spinning so they can remain the calm at the center of the storm. It is how they deal with the world around them. It is almost a narcissistic personality disorder, except for the fact that is has less to do with narcissism as it has to do with the only way they can feel secure is if everyone around them is spinning.

I wrote about it in my book The Simple Truth. I call it a loophole in the societal courtesies the rest of us live by. Their comment usually lies just below the response level where you feel justified in making a retort. It is not something so large that you can respond without looking like an egotistical ass. It flies just below the social radar of most people, but still it stings.

It is not like they out and out called you a name, but it was a dig. It is a trigger that they know they flicked, you know they flicked, and you have a pretty good idea everyone around you knows he or she flicked, but it was not so bad that you feel it demands a response without sinking down to their level.

It is okay, we have all been in that position. Just a few thoughts on how to handle these kinds of situations. First, let it go. Remind yourself to never allow yourself to be so caught up in the physical world that you get hurt by the actions of another or feel as if you must respond to them. A simple smirk and a rise of the eyebrow is usually enough of a response to dismiss them. You may even shake your head at the assininity of the situation, and if that is not a real word, it is about as close as I can get to calling it a passive/aggressive disorder without actually doing so [Spell check tells me it is not, but I say it should be].

You should also go one step further. Make a note of the trigger they flicked and store it for later. Once you cool down, take a moment to recognize that trigger. Admit to it and own it. Adopt it as a sensitive part of who you are. Smile at it, because it is a part of you. It is not a weakness, but a strength.

Sit down with yourself, meditate without allowing your mind to settle on the trigger that upset you like it did. Once your temperature has returned to normal, take a moment to contemplate what just happened. Replay the situation and turn it in your hands. Look at it from different angles and different perspectives. Then assess that trigger of yours. Ask yourself these three Socratic questions:

  • The first question is, has anyone said this before? If so, then this may lead to some self introspection. Is there some hint of truth to what they said, or is this the first time anyone has ever said something like this about you? If it has been said or hinted at before, then perhaps the reason it chafed so deeply is because there was a touch of truth to what they said. Do not question yourself or spend too much time pondering, but it may be worth some introspection, without getting too lost in their comments.
  • The second question is, why did they say that? Ask yourself why they said what they said. IF they did it out of anger, jealousy, or an attempt to raise themselves above you, then there is a good chance you can dismiss it. If however there was a twinge of truth to what they said, perhaps there is a lesson you can learn hidden beneath their acerbic attitude. If that is the case then perhaps you have a hint toward an attitude you yourself may take at times. Real or not, you may have been given an opportunity to change it. I call this a chance to learn from even the worst of situations.
  • The final question is, what is the nature behind what they said? Did they say whatever it was because they wanted to impress their friends or make your colleagues question your authority or confidence? Or did they say whatever it was because they saw a weakness in your personality? Either way, it again may hint at an area for improvement. If not, then it may be okay to dismiss their comment without further contemplation or thought.

Allow yourself, without allowing their comment to overwhelm you, to use their comment to explore your trigger. Ask yourself “why did that touch a nerve so deeply that I felt I had to respond?”

Try not to look at this event as an event to be angry about. Use it as an opportunity for self-growth. Look at this as an opportunity that should be met with gratitude. Each is a door to explore areas within you that may make you feel uncomfortable exploring. That is the quickest way to uncover your Simple Truth so that you may move on to living your life, on your terms, free from pain and free from delusions.

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Be well and I hope this helps.