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Triggers are Teachers. -Ep8

In this episode, you will hear the answers to all of these questions:

  • What are triggers?

  • What do they have to do with our childhood?

  • Why are triggers our teachers, and how can we utilize them to enhance our lives?

  • What are some key questions that you can ask yourself to reflect on yourself and your triggers?

  • How can you begin working with your triggers to heal the underlying wounds?

  • And why is it important to reflect on or work through our triggers?

If you want, you can read the transcriptions of Episode 8 of Under The Baobab Tree here:

triggers are teachers - podcast personal development

Triggers teach us what is important to us.

Hey! Welcome, welcome to another episode of under the baobab tree. Today I want to talk about triggers. Because triggers are teachers, we all have triggers. But they are different for all of us. And the reason why I want to talk about them is because triggers hold a lot of information. And they teach us what is important to us. Where we can grow, or where we need to heal. And the more we consciously observe our triggers and work around them, the more we literally work on removing blocks in our lives.

So, what is a trigger? The word has been used so much in different ways. But how I would explain it is that a trigger is something you feel as a reaction towards something, as a reaction towards a person, an experience, a situation, even an idea. And then it gives you an uncomfortable feeling, or it gives you distress. And so the uncomfortable feeling can be that you're angry, you're scared, you're sad, disappointed, you feel rejected, and so on. It can be honestly anything. For example, I can get extremely triggered when someone tells me what to do, and I can't decide for myself, then I feel suffocated, imprisoned and angry. And the way how I react when I get triggered in this way, is that I become agitated, I react agitated, over the top and frustrated, not really in a mature way, you know. And the interesting thing is, as I said before, that it gives you so much information, right? It shows that it is important to me that I can keep my independence, it can also show where my boundaries are. But the fact that it bothers me, that it makes me angry, even and thus triggers me, also shows me there is some pain somewhere that is asking to be healed. Because you can perfectly set boundaries, and knowing what you want, without needing to explode.

So imagine you have a friend who is not reaching out to you anymore, who is not asking how you're doing. And it just makes you wonder, like what's happening, but it also makes you feel rejected and very sad. So if you're triggered in that moment, a lot of times people react out of their trigger, they get angry, or they start to blame the other person, instead of maybe just asking like, "Hey, what's going on?" in a mature way. Without the trigger being the one taking over.

And often it can take a while to be conscious about certain triggers. It's also very normal that we feel them, that we experienced them. But it can really, really block ourselves in our lives. And in our relationships. And these triggers come from things we've experienced before, mostly in our childhood, but it can also be experiences in adulthood. And when it comes in our lives now, it actually reactivates that previous experience, it's like there is already a wound and every similar experience reopens that wound.

So imagine you have a couple, and the woman is triggered by the man coming home from work and lying in the couch and not doing anything anymore. She finds him lazy and complaints about she needing to do everything in the household. So here's the thing. Maybe she grew up with a dad who did the same. And she saw how her mom was complaining about it. On the opposite side, maybe she had a super active dad who did a lot at home. And that's what's normal to her. Anyway, so imagine she's triggered and expresses her unsatisfaction right. So, depending on the background of the men, who he is, what he experienced, he will react in a certain way. He might get triggered, too and become angry or withdraw or ignore the woman you know, like this fight and flight and all these different types of reacting or he can respond in a mature way and say he understands and that he can try to find a solution. So one reaction of the man is out of trigger, the other is not. So, I hope you see where I'm going here.

Because once you are in a trigger, it's very, very difficult to act, react, respond in a mature way. Because you're acting out of your trigger, you're starting from your pain. And for me, when I get triggered, I can also get very stubborn. And when you're stubborn, it's not easy to self reflect, or at least at that that moment, that specific moment, right. However, looking at yourself, and discovering your triggers is key.

And so three key questions that you can ask yourself are: when do I get triggered? What do I feel then? And how do I react? So if you want, you could journal about it and answer these questions generally already. Or you can reflect every day about how your day was. Another way of doing this is writing down right after you've been triggered by something. And once you know and understand your triggers better, you can work around them and heal them.

If you have done most of the healing work, the triggers that used to trigger you, won't be there anymore. And I can tell you, that is a very weird and special experience at first, that you're not triggered anymore by something that triggered you in the first place or before. And so I am in a period now where I don't have some triggers anymore that I used to have. And I am working to some other triggers now that I wasn't aware of at first. So it's not like "oh, okay, now I've been through all my triggers", like, healing is a life work in a way, right. And that's okay, it's a growing process.

This reflecting about my triggers, and working through them and trying to heal this wounded parts within myself, I'm also not doing it for myself alone. It's also so I can be nice to other people, instead of projecting my own stuff. Because often, we are just projecting our own unhealed shit, on one another. So in that sense, it is my opinion, we kind of owe it to one another, to check ourselves.

And maybe you're like, "Oh Ama, please, that sounds so much work." Or maybe you're like, "I don't feel like doing it." Or maybe you're scared to have a confrontation by looking at yourself and your inner world. I understand that. And it's totally up to you, of course. But I want to tell you that there are really different ways of approaching this. It doesn't need to be heavy, it can be even light and fun. If you approach it in that way. It can be like kind of a game to get to know yourself better. And if you're someone who is like, "Oh, I don't have any triggers anymore," or "Huh, I don't feel triggered about anything in my life," well, then you definitely need to reflect about these things.

And honestly, when I work with clients around these topics, most of the time, they tell me they feel lighter and relieved when we have worked around a trigger or something that wanted healing. And that's also what I experience, it's like shining light on things that you weren't giving attention. And because of the attention it gets now it feels seen. And it changes or it even disappears.

To me working with triggers is a fast track to change. It's like changing things within yourself and then seeing changes in your outer world too. So if you are like "yes, I want to try this out." Aside those three questions. Another question that you can ask is: what does this trigger teach me? Or what do I need? So let me repeat all those questions here for you. So the first one was, when do I get triggered? The second one, what do I feel when I'm triggered? And the third one, How do I react when I'm triggered? And the two last ones I just mentioned, what does this trigger teach me? Or what do I need?

And when you are conscious about your triggers and you feel like "okay, I am ready to work around those triggers, I want to heal. I want to work through them." Depending on what your trigger is, and what you feel that you need, you can do different things. But the things I mentioned in the episode of connecting with your inner child is a very good way of healing and working with triggers. You know, the most important thing to know here is that your trigger is an emotional charge around a specific topic. Emotions also live in the body. So I strongly believe somatic work and breath work are also great ways of working around this.

Exercise to work around a trigger

And so if you want to try it on your own, you can close your eyes and bring the trigger in your awareness, like really invite it back in your body, even if it's uncomfortable, because a lot of times it is uncomfortable. And so when you have invited in that feeling, then you just observe your body, and you try to feel where in your body you're feeling sensations, basically, normally, the trigger always has a specific spot in your body. And then you just give it all the love, all the attention, all your curiosity. And then you follow the feeling. And maybe it intensifies, maybe it moves or disappears. But the key is to stay with what you're feeling in your body. And the attention and love you're giving at that moment, is already moving the energy. And often it gets less because it feels seen. So this is a technique you can do. But probably you need to repeat this more often, especially when it's a trigger that has a very old or deeply rooted wound. And know that by doing this work, sometimes you're also lifting generational wounds, or pains. That's actually an interesting other episode.

So yeah, just have patience with yourself and the process. Consult your Higher Self work, with your own intuition to know what you need to work around your triggers. I'm just giving you some guidance here. But it's all up to you eventually. And know that there are practitioners, coaches, like myself and others who are here to guide you and help you in this process if you feel you want some support or guidance in this.

If you want to work with me in a one on one session, click here. They're very powerful and healing. You can also subscribe to my newsletter here, if you want to receive love notes from me in your mailbox ! Until the next episode. Bye! Thank you for listening.


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