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This Is What It Really Means When We Get Triggered

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Spoiler alert: It's not them.

“Whenever we get emotionally triggered, somebody pulls that trigger. But we are the ones carrying the ammunition inside of us."

- Dr Gabor Maté

Being triggered into anger and any other negative emotions from what we see, read, and experience around us means that the world is not what we wish it to be.

We are angry because events and other people refuse to be what we want them to be.

We are angry because we want others to be how we want them to be, when we refuse to be what others want us to be.

It's a strange thing.

It also means that we have little to no control over our own state of mind and emotions - we are puppets on a string constantly pulled by other people and external events. It is they that determine our thoughts, our feelings, our actions and ultimately our lives.

If our state of mind is a car and we are sitting in the driver’s seat, it means our hands are off the steering wheel, and where it heads depends on the condition of the road and other drivers on it.

We curse at each knock, we fume at each bump, and yell out the window “This is not where I want to go” and “This is not what I want my life to be” and “I am a victim of everything and everyone else".

"Why can't things be what I want them to be so I can be happy?"

All the while our hands are glued to our phones typing the latest update, our latest complaints, and posting the latest selfie.

"How you handle the people that trigger you that's your call. But at least know that you're the one with the explosive inside you"

- Dr Gabor Maté

Instead of insisting the world change to fit our narrative and what we want it to be for us to be happy;

Instead of blaming other cars on the road and whoever or whatever for the conditions of the road, both of which we have absolutely no control over no matter how much we lie to ourselves that we can and should;

Instead of giving up control over our state of mind and emotions to whatever's out there,

we can put our hands back on the wheel.

We can start steering the car instead in the direction we want, regardless of the other cars on the road, and regardless of the condition and state of the road.

This ride we are on is not on rails, and it’s not on a glorious, perfect superhighway. If it was, it would be uninteresting, boring, simply moving on a straight line from baby to the grave, and entirely meaningless.

It's a beautiful thing that it isn't.



November 2023

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