Tell me if you’ve ever been in this situation?
You are out with a friend, you’ve spent the day together and now are at the pub for a pub lunch. It is sunny, you’ve had a great day chatting, laughing and generally having a chilled out day! You feel relaxed and happy.
Then your friend says a harmless comment and suddenly your mood goes from happy and relaxed to really bad mood. You aren’t really sure what happened and you are trying to pretend your mood hasn’t changed as nothing really happened for it to change. But you can’t help feeling this way and your friend can tell your mood has changed as you aren’t as chatty and you aren’t as engaging. What was a great day has now become a crappy day!
Your friend said something that triggered a past experience in you and emotions linked to that experience.
You may not necessarily be aware of what the trigger was or what the experience was. Your behaviour changes as a result of your mood. The people around you won’t know what happened, they just know your mood and behaviour has changed.
Let’s look at an example from one of my clients, for this story I’ll call her Tracy. Tracy was always quite shy and her teacher at the age of 7 kept making her get up in front of the class to talk about her work. She hated this and felt no one listened to her or liked what she said because the kids were either whispering to each other or looking bored.
Fast forward to now and Tracy is with a friend, who made a harmless joke about her stories having no juicy bits to it. She knows this isn’t true and she knows her friend values her stories and finds them interesting. But that one comment triggers her feelings from when she was 7. She felt no one finds her interesting, that she’s boring and this made her want to shrink back into her shell and hide.
Her behaviour doesn’t make sense to her friend or to herself because she wasn’t even aware of the trigger. But it is there.
How many times has this happened to you?
How many times has your mood or behaviour changed due to one passing comment?
We all experience these, it is completely normal. But they can create problems.
Being aware of when this happens and being aware of the trigger allows you to stop your mood or behaviour changing.
It allows you to catch it before it causes changes in your behaviour or problems.
It allows you to acknowledge it and let it go and be aware that this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the other person.
If it comes up with a person you have a close relationship with, like a partner or close friend, then you can even discuss what’s come up and let it go by speaking about it (this is especially important if you are in a romantic relationship and things are being triggered because the other person will know why you are behaving a certain way and stop them reacting negatively).
So, what can you do to become more aware?
Pay attention to your moods. When do you have a sudden switch? What words were used? Are previous memories or experiences popping up into your mind? Is it feeling like a previous experience felt?
And most important, don’t judge yourself.
Emotions aren’t rational and therefore our reactions to things aren’t rational. This is all part of being a human, but it doesn’t mean you allow the irrational to rule you.
When you can, take a step back and identify what is coming up, what the trigger is and what that experience means to you. If you can, write it down, then let it go emotionally, sometimes it is nice to burn what you’ve written and focus on the experience and emotions linked to it leaving your body (make sure to do it in a fireproof place).
This is a time when I find the Energy Alignment Method (EAM) is a powerful tool. It helps to really release the energy behind what is coming up, rewiring the neural pathways linked to that experience and create new, more positive and more aligned outcomes.
So, in Tracy’s case, she would release all the feelings and beliefs behind how she feels about thinking she’s boring, the link to being 7 and retreating into her shell and align to knowing she is interesting and has friends who love her for who she is and value her and her stories.
What’s triggering you?
(If this has spoken to you and you have no idea what is causing your triggers or how to deal with it, maybe reflecting on the past to identify some of the triggers and working out how to move forwards to grow and change is what’s needed. Sound good? Then join me on a Power Call where I will help you do just that!).