My husband and I are getting winter tires put on our car.
(Yes – I got rid of my car and became a cyclist 4 years ago. Then when I got married my husband and I bought a car together – he uses it most of the time.)
My husband needs the car for his job as a social worker, so we called around to find someone who could book an appointment in advance, first thing in the morning, so he could just come into work 1 hour late and then skip lunch.
The car guy said for sure he could be done in an hour. But when he got to the shop they said they didn’t have an appointment, and that the car would be in the shop all day.
I was up super early that morning and was at Starbucks. I’d already done some really great brainstorming/planning, and was just chatting with a friend about some work stuff and getting ready to crack open my laptop and get caught up on some admin work.
That’s when my husband called to let me know that the shop was saying we didn’t have an appointment so it would take them all day to do the tires. So I agreed to bring my husband my mom’s car (my parents are away right now) so he could get to work.
Then I sat there, in a huff. I mean this is hardly the end of the world, but it did put a wrench in my plans and I was frustrated.
Of course it’s not a big deal, so I tried to just blow it off. But as I kept talking with my friend I noticed I was feeling more and more uncomfortable.
I was angry.
Not so much about my schedule getting a little messed up but more about how this person did not honour the agreement we made – that’s a trigger for me.
It’s ok to be angry when you’re angry.
I mean it’s ok to not be angry too.
But if you are angry then it’s ok to feel angry – to not brush it off, but to be with it and listen to it.
So I admitted to my friend that I still felt angry about the mechanic. This gave my anger some space and legitimacy. And almost instantly I knew – I needed to stand up for myself.
So I phoned the car guy and let him know I had made the appointment in advance and that I expected it to be honoured.
The mechanic agreed, at that point he couldn’t still get the tires finished by the time that was originally promised, but he said he could have it done by 10am.
I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, and felt much better. The anger was gone.
The anger was there as a sign that I needed to stand up for myself. That I couldn’t allow the car guy to break a deal with me without saying anything.
Anger is often a sign/message that comes with a burst of energy that allows us to act on the message.
When we use anger in that way – it’s very helpful! One of the most helpful emotions!
But people rarely use it this way.
Often, when you think you’re acting out of anger what you’re really doing is acting out of your own resistance to feeling angry.
That’s when you fly off the handle – the anger that comes up is so uncomfortable for you that you try to throw it onto something/someone else.
You’re just trying to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling you’re having. But what you end up doing – lashing out just to try to get rid of the feeling inside you – is just making things worse.
Then ager gets blamed!
But it wasn’t anger that made you lash out like that – it was your resistance to feeling your feelings.
When you can simply feel your feelings then you can get the message/meaning in your feeling. Then you can find the gift in it.
THEN you have the power to act differently – and that changes everything.
Notice how my husband was not angry about the car thing. He was irritated, but let it go once we had a solution. I was angry.
This is what it means to be triggered.
Being triggered means your inner wounds have been activated.
Maybe my husband wasn’t triggered because he wasn’t the one who made the appointment. Maybe it was because he doesn’t care if some car guys keeps his promises or not. He would say that he has bigger things to worry about.
I was triggered. It means a great deal to me that people keep their agreements with me, so this is the kind of thing that triggers me.
The thing about being triggered is that it’s a gift. There is always something in it that you can use for your own healing and growth.
Of course it never feels that way in the moment.
The example I’m sharing is a pretty small trigger. I was feeling angry and in a huff but it wasn’t out of control or anything.
Sometimes we are so triggered that we can’t handle our feelings and it takes everything we’ve got to not fly off the handle, and go into that reactive mode where we do things we later regret.
Those triggers are where we find the BIG gifts.
We’re doing a group coaching call on What To Do When You’re Triggered in the Creative Dream Circle on November 20.
I want to go speak in depth about handling large and small triggers and how to find the gifts in them.
This is an important topic because when you can handle your triggers you can find the gifts in them – which always serve your healing and personal growth.
So I’ll have more to share on the call, but we’ll have plenty of space for people in attendance to ask questions.
While it’s great to be on the call live, I think the recording of this one will be a real gift – to be able to come to it as a source of healing and support for when you’re right in the discomfort of being triggered.
This call will only be available to members of the Creative Dream Circle – find out more + join us here.