I don’t know about you but I get triggered daily by tiniest of things. That guy who bumped into me and didn’t even look back. That person who let us know her whole life by speaking loudly on the phone in the train. That mistake I did earlier today in my studies. The rain starting to fall just as I am going out.
Do those seem worth getting angry? Probably not. And yet, every single day, I will find myself thinking things such as:
“What the hell? You gotta be kidding me!”
Then I noticed I am angry at something tiny yet again and that bothers me further. There we are. The vicious circle has begun. One thing after another pushes me to darker and darker thoughts, all ending with a big:
“Why the hell am I angry at all this stuff I shouldn’t even care about?!”
Oh yes, meditation has helped reduce the number of times I get triggered per day, but it’s still here. After all, this is who I have been for the past 20 years at least so it has become a habit. Luckily though, habits can be replaced with better ones!
I have started to dig deeper into the appreciation of what we have and living in the present, thus finding some solutions to combat this. If you’re like me, let’s fight this together with those by understanding 3 facts.
You control yourself only
Why do you think we get triggered by tiny stuff? It is because if we had the choice, we would have done it differently.
- The guy bumping into you and not apologizing? I’d have apologized.
- That girl on the phone? I would have not answered or at least spoken with a low voice.
- That mistake I did? I’d have preferred not to do it.
- The rain falling? I’d have preferred if it weren’t.
But this is not about myself in the end.
What if that guy had something awful just happen and his mind was somewhere else? What if that call was important for this woman? If I could have avoided that mistake, I would have done it too so it means I couldn’t. And, who do I think I am to hope I could have control over the weather?
All we can control is ourselves.
Whenever you get triggered by something, remind yourself you don’t have any power over what has just happened and move on. Remember what you can control and turn your focus on this.
It’s already done now
Do you know what else is common to the examples I gave above? The fact that they are finished. Yes, the rain might still be falling, but it isn’t starting to fall anymore.
And the one thing we can never even hope to control is the past. If it’s done, then you can let it go because it’s now set in stone in the past. If you can’t modify it, why would you keep your attention on it?
Don’t make the past control your present. Make yourself control it instead.
Force yourself to find positivity
The one technique that has worked the best for me recently is to force myself to turn to something positive whenever I get triggered.
Let’s say that guy bumped me in a strong manner in the street and I get triggered. Then, I will instantly turn my head up and around to look for beauty in nature.
Oh, that beautiful movement of the leaves caused by the wind! Wow, what a nice cloud in the sky! … Wait, what triggered me already?
It might sound silly but, just like you can become angry suddenly by something around you, you can also make yourself happy by turning to positive thinking.
In the end, you can’t expect to control everything in the world. And even if you really did, you would get tired of it extremely quickly due to the sheer amount of decisions to make at every instant. Furthermore, while negative surprises might disappear, you will also lose the opportunity to enjoy positive ones!
Will you join me and create a habit of positivity to let go of those tiny things in your life?
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Mathias Barra is a French polyglot living in Japan and who has learned 6 languages and dabbled in numerous others. Being a curious child full of wonders is how he keeps on learning and can’t stop sharing about every tiny idea, even non-language-related.