We are all responsible for our own lives, our own thoughts, feelings, emotions and belief systems.
So why is it that certain people trigger us and cause us to behave in ways that we aren’t proud of?
What deep rooted belief or emotion have they stumbled upon that makes us react and respond and then blame them for evoking our feelings?
There is a myriad of reasons, although, the main one is that the people around us are mirrors. This concept may seem confusing as it can lead us to believe that the people around us are the same as us, but that’s not the case at all. They aren’t just mirrors to us. They are a mirror for anyone who passes and sometimes when people look at one another they see something of themselves in that person.
When we see something in the mirror that we recognise it sparks a reaction. All that is happening is we are seeing our own reflection. The image looking back at us may not be who we are today in this very moment, it may be showing us a past memory or experience.
It is similar to flicking through old photographs. It may not even be our own image that we see. We could be looking an image that reminds us of someone else, or we may be reminded of a place that used to haunt us or a bad experience that we would rather forget.
The photograph album is replicated in everyone we meet and every experience we have. Our subconscious and unconscious minds have millions and billions of fragmented pieces of information stored in them and all the data has been absorbed in us by everything that has happened so far in our lives. They hold things that we thought we’d forgotten, hoped had disappeared or thought had been wiped out when we became this new version of our self that we see in the mirror today.
So, when someone says something, does something or acts in a way that triggers a piece of that data, we are immediately triggered by the memory it holds.
The trouble is, we often don’t remember this memory. So, it begins to get a little complex for us.
We react and respond to the person showing us the data as though what they have shown us is their issue and not our own.
Rather than taking responsibility for the way we feel, we project onto the other person by reacting in our conditioned way. It doesn’t feel good to associate ourselves with what they have shown us. That isn’t who we are anymore and we want to suppress and deny any association to it.
However, when we do that we are suppressing the memory further. Anything that is suppressed will not go away. It lies stagnant and it waits around patiently ready to sneak out, usually when we least expect it.
It wants to be acknowledged so it can be free and clear itself from any karmic repercussions or any conflict that may arise whenever it is recognised. Our suppressed data wants us to take responsibility for it and claim it as our own so that it can change, just like we have, and transform so it can be associated with a good feeling. Just like what happens to us when we want to change. We don’t want to keep being reminded of any negativity from the past.
When we change our inner data wants to change too. Otherwise it will remain blocked inside us held hostage for a lifetime. So when someone holds it up in front of us and asks us what we know about it, we have to own it. When we own it then we can change it.
Blaming someone else for what has sparked a reaction in us just adds more fuel to the raging data that is on fire. Burning inside us causing us pain, discomfort and leading us to explode whenever it tries to erupt.
Whenever we see something we despise in others we are actually seeing something we despise in ourselves.
If we think back to the last temper tantrum we had, the last sulk or the last defensive word we mouthed or wrote, we will see that what happened was exactly that. We were defensive. We didn’t want to be accountable for our reactions so instead of taking action, we reacted. And these reactions are never pretty.
If we resist something it will persist and it will keep bringing itself to our attention until we finally fully acknowledge it, recognise it and take ownership for it.
Whenever we are shown something that causes an eruption all we have to do is breathe deeply and say, “That’s mine. I own it.”
We can show it understanding. We can look at it and understand why we are being shown it and the reason that it became part of us in the first place. Not everything that happens to us is our fault—we don’t need to take the blame for everything. However, everything that we hold onto becomes stored and we need to understand why before we can create changes.
Then we can show it forgiveness; it was part of who we were and we can forgive ourselves, or others, whenever we choose to. By forgiving ourselves we release all the anger, resentment and frustration we feel towards ourselves and we are free to heal.
The next thing we can do is show it compassion. We aren’t perfect. We never will be and neither will anyone else. We can be tender and caring and send the memory some love and transform how it feels so it is no longer filled with pain.
Then we can let it go so that it is free. We don’t need to hold onto it any longer. It triggered us, it got our attention, we now understand it and it is no longer capable of hurting us or causing us to react. Our lesson has been learned, it was probably learned a long time ago but until we are ready to let it go it will keep repeating itself so that we can learn that we also must let go of attachments before we can finally be free of it.
Triggers are simply old wounds that are being prodded and poked which is why they keep irritating us. Other people are showing us these wounds and in doing so they are giving us the opportunity to heal us.
Certain people trigger us, yes. But, our reaction to the trigger is all about us, not them.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Studio Tdes