What is your biggest trigger?

You know. The event, incident, button that when pushed, your insides explode. You lose all sense of rationality. Your grounded adult self flies out the window like a large pink gum wad onto the passing highway. Your regressed inner child takes over the wheel and quickly steers you off the road into a trench. You are hopeless to stay moderated and sane. That train has long left the station.

We all have these triggers. You are normal that way.

Furthermore, these bubbles of ours tend to burst at the most unexpected times. And most often with the folks we are closest to, those we rub elbows with as we pass in the hallway, rushing to beat to the bathroom – our partners and children.

Yes, we all have these triggers because we all have unhealed emotional wells deep within. They are sitting, waiting for your attention. Desperately wanting you to notice so that they can finally be recognized enough to be repaired. So, any opportunity for them to jump out and say, “There. That. Listen to me!” they will. They are pleaded with you toward a better you.

Learn to identify your triggers. It’s the first step in both managing your reactivity and healing your pain. Believe me – your spouse and kids will thank you.

One tip to helping you pinpoint what sets you off: if it’s hysterical, it’s historical. Something leftover from childhood haunts you. Yes, you are pissed that your teenager lives like a zoo animal. And yes, you are sad that your favorite character was killed off on Game of Thrones. But if the feeling is over-the-top. Out of proportion to the situation. Outsized and outweighed. Then you know that something else is going on for you. You have been triggered.

So, listen to yourself with gentle curiosity. No shame, no blame. Just be the wise, safe guide that chooses to grasp every chance you get to be the best you possible.