Triggers. Buttons. Those people. Those situations.
You know — those things you react to in the blink of an eye. You’ve witnessed the crazy. Come on, you’ve done the crazy. Why all the crazy? Can’t everyone just stop, please?!
You know better, yet find yourself doing the opposite of what you KNOW.
What if the whole idea of buttons to be pushed and triggers to be set off is only a reality because there is something inside you to be pushed and set off?
What if you were able to get to the root of what’s really bothering you? Just now several annoying people and situations popped into your mind. There’s no way to NOT be triggered by them. It’s maddening and I believe you. The problem is, it’s only a half truth — it’s not the full complete picture.
What if those people – those situations – are actually opportunities for you? Dare it even be a gift? Ok, stop rolling your eyes and yelling…just hang in there for a minute.
What if the problem is a “seeing issue?” Meaning, you just haven’t been able to see another way to engage with them. And right there, signals another issue — you already super know the social realm is a legit challenge for you, right?
I mean, you’ve been involved in many a program, curriculum, group, and on going conversation all aimed at helping you bridge this gap. While these interventions certainly meant well and were full of good stuff, they most likely also missed something.
All people have social difficulty. On some level – with some people – with some situations. It’s part of our humanity. So it makes sense that the people charged with teaching you how to navigate your difficulty had difficulties, too. Guiding someone through a difficult course requires a specific skill. It’s actually so simple that it typically gets missed. What is this skill, you ask?
Curiosity is absolutely pivotal because it opens up a whole new way of looking at something. In this case, your social challenges. As in, cultivating curiosity on all the levels, in all the ways, in all the things.
What if you could learn a new way of engaging? What if there was a helpful strategy to eradicate the trigger.
I’m here to tell you, curiosity is that strategy. Yes – even if you have Aspergers.
Here’s what some curiosity can look like in action…
Pause. Take a step back. Ask yourself what are you actually feeling? Where else have you felt this feeling? What’s really going on?
And if your answers are all about them – she’s just ridiculous and he disrespected me – then it’s time to dig deeper about yourself.
- What about her ridiculousness bothers you the most? Why?
- What about his disrespect got under your skin the most? Why?
- Where else in life have you felt bothered like this?
These are clues to what triggers you and why. You may be able to rattle off all the clues: the what, when, where, why and how this came about for you. You may have some clues but it gets fuzzy fast. Or you may have no clue. Regardless of where you are with your clues, it looks like you’re not getting beyond them.
The triggers still have a hold.
When someone steps on them, the ugly happens. And later you have feelings about it. You rattle off quick contradictions – you didn’t have a choice, you’re over it, they deserved it, you should apologize and make it right, you’re done, you think about making a pact you’ll never let it get to you like this again and yet, somehow it keeps replaying itself again and again in your mind, just swirling around.
Pause. Be still.
There are clues and answers to be found. But you can’t hear them with all the noise.
So right now why don’t you take two minutes and play along:
Close your eyes and breathe deeply
Breathe in for a count of four where your belly goes out as it fills with air
Hold for one
Exhale for the count of four as your belly deflates
Do it again. Once more. Probably once more…
Now ask yourself…
No over thinking – just whatever pops into your mind:
- What about this issue is a repeat offender – those things that keep happening?
- What’s really bothering you?
- What does it threaten in you?
Jot down your answers. Add to them over the next few days as other things come to your mind. Then tomorrow (or later today) take another two minutes to pause. Be still.
And revisit those answers.
- What do you feel now?
- What would you like to do? Or not do?
- What do you want to say? To whom?
Discovering the theme in play – what’s holding you back from doing what you actually want – is key to trashing those triggers.
It’s actually pretty uncommon for people to pause and reflect.
It’s a noisy world out there. It’s a noisy world in you, too. Ponder what a little “shhhhh” could do for you. What would it look like for you?
Imagine coming to terms with your triggers. Seriously, not being triggered?!
You’ve got this.
Pause and ponder.
Think and Link.
Relinquish those triggers.
If you found any part of this process challenging…
You’ve got this and can do it! However, if you find you need additional support and direction feel free to contact us.
by: Sharon Neill
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