What do you do when someone triggers you? When you have conflict with someone you care about? I crave peace and harmony in my relationships, yet lately I find myself sometimes carried into disagreements with strong emotion. I see other friends and family members going through similar situations. Heated political discussions, discordant viewpoints and highly stressful times may be bringing things to the surface that were long hidden. Feelings of judgement or separation abound and we strive to reconcile this outer discord with inner harmony.
Don’t despair. Conflict can have a positive outcome. Think in terms of post traumatic growth rather than post traumatic stress. I like to think we’re like stained glass windows, certain people or events may bring out different colors or facets of us that we would never see otherwise. It allows more opportunity to shine the light into dark spaces.
Conflict offers a wonderful opportunity to look deeply at oneself – at ones patterns, tendencies and triggers. If I find I am reacting rather than responding, I simply find quiet and ask myself “why?”. I attempt to simply name my reaction. What is it that this is bringing this up for me? Maybe I feel fear or rejection, attachment or judgement, grief or despair. In this naming, the emotion takes on less meaning and the mind becomes clear. I am grateful for these opportunities life presents me to work on my shadow. This work is integral to my development and growth as a human being. Without it, I stay blind to certain aspects of the self and with it i grow in compassion and my ability to serve. For this I am grateful. Through practice and consistent effort, we can not only shift to harmonious relations, we can discover a deeper inner awareness and fertile ground for compassion.
Here are five simple things to do when you feel triggered:
- Practice QTIP – Quit taking it personally. When you realize it isn’t about you, you can let go of defensiveness and let the ego quiet down. You may discover this has nothing to do with you.
- Name the emotion. Simply stop, breathe, ask yourself what it is that you’re feeling.
- Look with eyes of compassion rather than judgement (at yourself and the other).
- Choose a one pointed mind – focus on your breath, your heart or the offering of loving kindness as you wish the other person well.
- Repeat aloud or silently – “May you be happy as I wish to be happy. May you be free as I wish to be free.”
“Relationships are stepping stones for the evolution of our consciousness. Each interaction we have, be it one of joy or contrast, allows us to learn more about who we are and what we want in this lifetime. They bring us into greater alignment…as long as we continue to move forward and do not get attached to hurt, anger or being a victim.”
I hope this helps in some small way. May you be peace as I wish to be peace. Sending you love and gratitude.