When you are triggered, there are two things to be done:
- Notice the anger, judgements and fear, and accept that this is part of living a human life.
When we accept ourselves as we are, we do not need to put energy into changing ourselves. The moment when you notice that you are being critical of yourself is golden; it is an opportunity to let go, with loving-kindness and acceptance. Don’t beat yourself up about being bad, simply notice that this is what humans feel, and it is how one relates to these feelings that can transform rather than repress the feelings.
To one who has grown up in a Judeo-Christian culture where certain feelings and thoughts are ‘good’ and others are ‘bad’, accepting so-called ‘bad’ feelings runs against the grain. I was taught that jealousy and anger and frustration are evil and should be conquered through ignoring them or repressing them, and that it was a good idea to ask god for forgiveness and for his help not to feel such feelings. I was manipulated into behaving a certain way through guilt and shame. Did this approach eradicate such ‘bad’ feelings? No. Did it make the feelings come less? No. Did it give me a way of managing the suffering that comes from such feelings? No. Experience has taught me that this approach is unskillful 😦
What is your approach when difficult feelings come up? Is it working for you? Would you describe it as skillful?
- Take your mind to an awareness of the energy of compassion, kindness, freedom, and love which are also within the cells of your body. Hold your lightness and darkness together in your mind, with gentleness and acceptance.
Remind yourself that, if you allow yourself to be dominated by negative emotions, you will react in ways that will cause more suffering. You will want to punish the other person and say unkind things. To break out of this habit, this trap, we need to practice mindfulness, to notice that we are being triggered, and to remember to accept our humanity, and that there is light as well as dark within. Breathe into your light, and smile at all that you are on the outbreath.