“This person is going to push me too hard.”
“He’s not going to listen to me.”
“I’m going to have to set some firm boundaries.”
These were all thoughts swirling in my mind the day we had a substitute fitness instructor in gym class. My regular instructor knows all the adjustments I must make to protect 2 injuries I have, but this person didn’t know me. His style was different, his warm up exercises was taking 3 times as long as my regular instructor. They were much harder. And, he wasn’t smiling. What did that mean?? I was triggered.
All this happened in a matter of minutes until I caught myself and realized I was having a BIG reaction.
When you experience an emotional trigger, a reaction to a person or event, it’s all yours to decipher and take care of. I’m sharing a methodical, logical way to navigate this emotional roller coaster.
The first thing I did was ask myself what this was reminding me of? When did I feel this feeling before? My subconscious came right up with the answer: grade school. I attended a parochial school where we stood in line straight, no talking was allowed, and we followed instructions quietly. There wasn’t much room to negotiate or bring up an issue. This new gym experience tapped right in to an old experience where I felt stuck and couldn’t stand up for myself.
The next thing I did was remind myself that I am in charge of me and that I can speak up if I need to.
And I did.
I shared my injuries with the new instructor and told him I would make adjustments to my exercises. I took care of myself.
At the end of the class, he told me I did great and gave me a smile! What a turn around from my thinking he was going to be shrill and demanding.
Again, I completed this entire internal process in a matter of minutes.
The next time you get triggered, slow down and follow the emotions and questions. Give yourself compassion for whatever you’re feeling. This creates new neural pathways in your brain and heals old wounds. It won’t mean you won’t get triggered again, however, in my experience the severity is much less.
Follow these flow charts for excellent self care: