Have you ever heard a song or been to a certain location and had a flush of negative memories come flowing in your mind? This has been happening to me a lot lately.
Triggers are scary. Think of the trigger of a gun. Triggers are no joke, no joke at all. I guess this is why we run from triggers or gunshots. Duhhhh their dangerous, but taking this thought deeper; triggers/gunshots make our life flash before us. They make us deep life, just like how a song associated with a negative experience can make you deep life. Our first instinct is to run, to avoid this negative feeling. Yuppp I was doing a lot of this. Then I got to the point where I couldn't run anymore. What do you do at this point? Do you dig a hole and force yourself through it? Or do you stay and face life?
Below are 4 steps I used to face my triggers.
I stopped running - I had to realise that I would be running for the next 25 years if I did not stop now, and I am nooo 15K runner trust me. Being present is key during this stage. I was living in the past and not the now. I had to say things like “okay I’m ready to accept the past is something I cannot change”. Acceptance is a key aspect of this phase.
Practical tip: Right down how you feel everytime you face a trigger - this will help you to come to terms with your feelings and accept that it is okay and justified to feel how you feel.
I identified my next steps - okay so you stop running now what? I started to use these negative feelings to unpack the real reason I felt the way I did. This part was not easy, but was crucial for me moving forward to a better place. Sometimes we can have all these feelings and not know what to do with them. This becomes another negative situation that can actually leave us more damaged than before, as it allows the blaming game to be ignited. Imagine you have all these feelings and you start to say “Why did they do that to me?” or “I am such a bad person” - your thought pattern at this stage will depend on the type of person you are. However, within this phase all personality types are susceptible to the blame game.
Practical tip - Based on the feelings you have make a step by step plan of how you will overcome these feelings. This might be through accepting you cannot change these feelings, but that you can start to rebuild your confidence. It might be that you will call someone to reconcile, which might give you closure. Whatever the steps are, make sure they are practical and will help you overcome the negative feelings you are experiencing.
Prepare for the anxiety associated with carrying out these steps - a lot of the time we fail because we do not think of the emotional consequences of overcoming these barriers before us. This is something I had to learn. Ask yourself: how will I carry out this step successfully if I don’t cover my heart and mind? I encourage you to research techniques that will help you.