I'm talking all varieties of relationships; lovers, family members, co-workers, friends... etc, they all have the same purpose.
To activate whatever longs to be transformed within you.
That's it. Whether it's that relative that triggers you every time you see them, sometimes without even saying a word, or that friend or lover who's company feels so good. It's all for the same purpose. The trigger is just as valuable as the soothing sensation of being around someone who doesn't activate any negative feelings or discomfort within you.
Triggers are simply an opportunity for growth. You get to choose how you want to respond to them; transform or run. But here's the thing, when you run away from growth it always manages to cycle right back into your life. That's how patterns are created. You'll continually be confronted with the same issues until you transform them. You could spend a lifetime running or you could choose to surrender and approach the trigger in a new way, try a different response, and experience the gift that lies on the other side of growth.
It's in our nature to avoid discomfort so most of us run at some point or another. But if you've ever gone through any kind of hardship and managed to come out the other side, you know what I'm talking about. Through the struggle, we come into closer alignment with our essence - the source of who we are. Which is a beautiful and empowering place to be.
And the more you grow, the more whole you'll feel, with more of yourself to offer to the world. Essentially enriching your experience of life and the lives of all those around you.
So next time you feel triggered by someone, ask yourself what exactly is being activated, get curious about what your reaction says about you. Redirect your focus, let it fall on you, instead of the 'other'. Because everything is always just about you.
For example, you're being cashed out at the grocery store and the cashier doesn't make eye contact with you, doesn't acknowledge your presence at all, just rings your groceries through and then without telling you the total, turns the debit machine in your direction, still not looking at you.
Now there are a handful of ways you could respond to this situation, and all of them are just an indication of where you're at, with your own personal gorwth.
Responding with anger, whether you express it or not, is an indication you are being triggered. So pause and be curious, ask yourself, why is this upsetting me? Do I need to be validated, do I have issues with being unseen, does rudeness offend me....?
There could be a million different reasons why but they are all less important than acknowledging that the cashier's behaviour has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with her.
So let that shit go.
Perhaps she's having the worst day of her life and if she makes eye contact with someone she'll burst into tears, maybe she's avoiding eye contact to cope, to make it through her shift. Maybe she hates her job, maybe she's going through a painful break-up, maybe she left her kids with a sketchy babysitter and she's feeling guilty or ashamed, maybe she's in a lot of physical pain.... who knows. Getting angry at her certainly isn't going to solve anything, for either of you.
So you have two choices, you can engage with the trigger or you can transmute it. The only way to transmute it is to hold compassion and unconditional love in your heart. If you can't access any love and compassion then just try to respond in a way that feels different, break the cycle. You may have to fake kindness and empathy for a while but eventually, it'll be your first response. Practice makes (almost) perfect.
The same goes with your personal, intimate relationships. Are you being confronted with the same issues over and over again? Complaints, discords, frustrations? I hope so because if not you're in denial or you're burying them, and that is the best way to kill sexual chemistry, the leading cause of death for most relationships.
Where do you think all those buried negative emotions go? They are the cinder blocks that build a fortification of separation, particularly around intimate exchanges. So don't bury that shit, acknowledge it, communicate your way through it. But keep in mind that it's your shit.
If your partner is consistently not showing up for you the way you'd like them to, you are being presented with the perfect opportunity to look at how you aren't showing up for yourself. We love to project our deficiencies onto others. Who said it was your partner's responsibility to live out your expectations of who they should be or make up for whatever is lacking in your life?
What can you do to nourish yourself and meet your own needs rather than expecting them to be met by someone else? How can you tend your own heart so you can show up feeling whole and full of love?
You'll be amazed at how your partner suddenly, and with total ease, shows up in the way you've been desiring as soon as you release them from your expectations.
Remember, if you're being triggered it is only an indication of something that is desiring to be transformed within YOU. All you can ever do is tend to your own shit, your own responses and reactions.
My mom used to always say that any issues I had with kids at school was always just an indication of something that I was rejecting or denying within myself. I hated it when she'd say that. All I wanted was her compassion for my struggle, my hardship, I wanted her to commiserate with me. But instead, she made me think, she made me look at the situation from a different perspective.
I remember being in grade five and coming home from a particularly rough day at school, when I shared my anger and frustration with my mom she brushed it off as an indication of something unresolved within myself, which only exasperated my anger and frustration. But she was right. My nine year old brain just didn't know how to compute that. It stuck with me though and has been one of the greatest teachings of my life. My reaction to someone else is always (and only) an indication of where I'm at in the realm of my own personal growth. Thanks mom.
It is not our job to change anyone but in any relationship that experiences growth, change will happen. We just need to change ourselves.
Communication is the key, the bridge towards growth between people, and the foundation of any healthy relationship. The more radically honest the better. So talk it out if you can't transmute it but don't hold anyone else accountable for how you feel.
Now let's talk about those sweet soothing sensations, all those good feelings that can trick you into thinking someone else is responsible for your joy. Or how about those inexplicable magnetic draws towards certain people, or those obsessive fantastical thoughts about someone you barely know.... they are all just an indication of an opportunity for growth. That's it. Romantic love is the most revered illusion. But that's another blog post, for another time.
To grow or not to grow, that is the question.
If you could simplify every interaction you have with another person down to an opportunity to transform something within YOU, how would that impact your life?
If you could demystify all those powerful emotional responses with the notion that you are just being shown your shit and it really means nothing, and any reaction other than love and compassion towards yourself and anyone else is just an ego dance, how liberated would you feel?
If you could just let go of the notion that anyone else can influence your wellbeing, if you could take full responsibility for how you respond to any given situation as a choice, then who would you be?
Think of Nelson Mandela, he managed to feel free while incarcerated even though he was unjustly imprisoned for 27 years.
Struggle is just a state of mind.