Have you ever had times when you were triggered by an event, or an incident or by someone? Perhaps watching a movie or even the news, triggered feelings of sadness, or anger. Maybe meeting or seeing someone triggers you into feeling upset, angry or just drains you out. I think we all have gone through something similar even if the context is not the same. Carl Jung says this about being triggered, "everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves".
There is something to these experiences that can teach us more about ourselves. It makes sense now why I have had more learning experiences and growth this year compared to the other years. Being in the moment and quietness (due to the lock down), I was able to be present and attuned to my emotions, and my thoughts. In being aware, I am able to link these triggers to my past. By doing so, I am able to work through that and release those past experiences because I was looking at those experiences with a tiny lens then; my experiences as my younger self were minimal, hence the perceptions I “made up” were according to those minimal or non-existent life experiences in the way I know best to make sense of my pain / hurt / wounds then. It is always about self-regulation and safety.
To do this inner work, you need courage, strength, intention to heal and move ahead. As for the tools, you need a quiet space to reflect, and perhaps a journal to do your inner work. As I am practicing EFT tapping, I use that to release the stress of that past moment and to re-instill and restore calm, safety and love to my past, in order to heal my present moment.
Let me give you an example of how intricate self-work can be (below is an example of one of my lesser intensive work). N.B: I would advise you to speak with a therapist / someone professional to do this work. As I am trained, I have the tools for self-care and I know who I can reach out should I need support.
Last week I was filled with anxiety over an issue. I checked in to see what emotions were linked to this anxiety; they were fear - the fear of rejection. Being human, I took time to arrive to this conclusion – denial was one of my defense mechanism. Truth often hurts and that is why you need courage and strength. I decided to just sit with this anxiety and practiced as much meditation and also to “veg out”. I knew I was not ready to look into the issue and that was ok. At all times, practice patience, kindness and compassion with your self. This week, as I was writing my “Grace in waiting” article, there was this still small voice, “when did you last feel that similar emotion of anxiety while waiting, and that fear of rejection”. I continued to write. I then had a flashback to a moment when I was 23 years old, doing the very same thing, waiting anxiously, and that strong feeling of rejection was present. It wasn't an easy situation to be in and I remember that feeling so well. That was my ‘aha’ moment. I took the time to tap that past stress away, to sooth and comfort my younger self, and restored calm, safety and love.
The thing about each of us is that we all have many parts to our past that has not been healed and we don’t even know they need healing until something triggers us. The sub-conscious remembers very well (even if it doesn’t want to show us because it is always trying to protect us) of the similar emotions of the past even if the context is different. Your body doesn’t lie, it remembers what you have gone through and it has been left “hanging” in the past, or shall I say “repressed” due to the pain and hurts. Some memories are just too painful then to remember, and even now but we are braver and stronger now (remember that). As the years evolve, our experiences, our whole being and our outlook have grown so much that we are able to be there for our younger self, to hold hers/his hand and say, “it’s ok, I am here for you now. You are safe with me and I have your back. You are loved and you are safe.” It is always about restoring safety, love and calm to your past in order to be at peace in the present.
I want to stress that if you are having an intense negative emotion, write them down and seek the help of a professional to walk you through your healing journey. It is painful and I will not sugar coat it, but you deserve to heal and be liberated in order to live a full life! You are worth it and you are beautiful with all your strengths and pains.