A Season of Enlightenment

Christina Staff

Calm the triggers and grow a healthier mind

By Christina Staff,
Healthy Planet Staff Writer

The onset of a powerful season is quickly approaching as we turn the corner into June. The summer solstice will occur on Wednesday the 21st, bringing with it longer hours of sunlight, warmth, and steady growth. What better time to nurture and evolve our minds than in this season of illumination.

“I’m triggered.” A trendy phrase that swiftly claims sensitivity but sometimes falls short in taking ownership of traumas within ourselves that still needs attention. Could it be we have become a society hyped up on oversensitivity because it means not addressing our own vulnerabilities? Unpopular opinion, practice the pause and maybe give the benefit of the doubt. Hang on, it could get uncomfortable if you are feeling triggered already.

Let’s first talk about what being triggered means in simple terms. Becoming triggered is your mind and body’s heightened response to an experience due to unhealed trauma from past situations. Old wounds surface to remind us of times we were treated poorly, and our defense mechanisms rise out of self-preservation. Reactions could be in the form of an outburst, quietly withdrawing, or a multitude of other actions, none of which are a healthy form of communication, especially to those who may have offended us unknowingly or accidentally.

Recently I was faced with a situation that checked all the boxes on the “I’m triggered” checklist; hurt; placing fault; projection, and withdrawal. Go ahead and throw overthinking in there and you have a perfect storm of unhealed grief. The unintentional party had no way of knowing a deep wound had been reopened but were nonetheless the recipient of my unfair and withdrawn behavior. Within all of us are past circumstances that hold the power to create waves of emotional reactions; reactions that keep us stuck in the past while also proving detrimental to current and future relationships. So, what can we do?

Acknowledge and identify things within you that may need healed. Be honest and ask yourself if your reaction was justified? When you take some time to mentally process what recently unfolded, more often than not you may realize it was not the actual person or action that offended you, but instead a similarity to an unpleasant memory of how you felt in the past. Obviously this applies to actions not done to us with malice or intent to further aggravate a known hurt, hence the suggestion to give the benefit of the doubt. As you practice self-awareness, you become less inclined to fault others and more apt to look within yourself for the why. Why were you triggered? Which most likely, someone else was also left wondering.

We humans are social creatures and crave close connections with others. You will notice it is when we start forming those deeper bonds when those raw, unhealed wounds come to light. Communication and ownership of our weaknesses initiate healing while working to build trust. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and having open conversations with those closest to you can prevent the majority of misunderstandings and upsets. But first, you need to have those same straightforward conversations with yourself to identify what unresolved feelings you may still be carrying forward. You owe yourself the happiness and peace that will inevitably follow.

Triggers will continue to happen; they are a part of life where we hold zero power. Or, do we? Our true power lies within what we learn about ourselves and how we react. Happy summer solstice. Get out there and grow.