In Mind

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who am I when I am triggered

Something happened the other day. It made me wonder- Who am I?

It wasn’t a huge thing, but it was enough to trigger me to a time in my past where I wasn’t as enlightened (enlightened = the result of a decade of therapy) as I am now. My reaction surprised me because it wasn’t my normal, adult response – it was a little kid response.

Isn’t it interesting how fast one simple event can bring us right back to another time when we didn’t have the coping skills we have now to handle a situation?

Let me explain.

Once upon a time I was a hot mess. I made all sorts of bad decisions on all fronts. Fortunately, I found a great therapist and got the help I needed to grow and learn from my experiences. This propelled me to continue my quest for evolving into a compassionate, positive person. I’m not sure I’ll ever become that person fully, but I try every single day to go a little further down this path (even if it is only an inch or less a day).

By continuing to grow, we become different people than we once were. The problem with this is that others typically see our progress before we do. It’s like not seeing the growth of a child you live with until you look back at old photos. Sadly, internal change doesn’t show up in pictures which makes it even more difficult to quantify.

I am much different emotionally than I once was as a child or in my twenties and thirties. I can see and feel the differences when all is running smoothly in my life because my response to situations is more mature.

Then an event will happen which triggers me to another time and I ask myself  – Who am I?

This isn’t as common as it used to be pre therapy, but it still occurs from time to time- usually when I’m tired or not being respectful of my boundaries. One minute I’m my current age, the next I could be acting like I’m my twenty-something self, or if it’s a really big trigger, my child self.

Getting lost in our ‘selves’ is pretty easy to do when you are upset. You can accidentally scare yourself because you forget all you have learned and how far you have come.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘When you are feeling triggered, take a pause and ask, “Who am I in this moment”?'” quote=”‘When you are feeling triggered, the best thing to do is take a quick time out and ask, “Who am I in this moment”?'”]

Also, how old are you in this moment? What’s going on in your head? Are you time traveling to  when this type of situation happened as a child? Do you remember the processing skills you’ve already learn to dig out of the situation?

Checking in with yourself when you feel lost or are in a time travel gives your mind a chance to catch up with itself. This brings you forward to the present moment. This can also bring back all the processing tools you have learned as well so you can properly handle the issue at hand.

Life can get messy, you never know what can be tossed your way. Mindfully navigating these waters and asking yourself simple questions like, “Who am I in this moment” can gently bring your awareness back to the present, pulling you out of your past, less able to handle life, self.

What are some ways you bring ourself back to present when triggered? I would love to hear them in the comments section.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Shareen Mansfield

    “Getting lost in our ‘selves’ is pretty easy to do when you are upset. You can accidentally scare yourself because you forget all you have learned and how far you have come.” This right here snapped me out of state of mind I was in. Thank you.

    • So happy it helped Shareen. We all need a little kick in the pants sometime. Sending big hugs your way!

  • Alexandria

    I’m often to blogging and i really appreciate your content.
    The post has really peaks my interest. I ‘m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

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