CHECKING YOUR ATTITUDE
WHAT TRIGGERS YOU?
"Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it."
Leonardo da Vinci
STEP ONE: Identify what triggers you
The Check Your Attitude process begins with becoming aware of what triggers you into a negative state/feeling. Triggers are automatic responses. In other words, they happen and you feel crappy seemingly instantly. Because they happen so fast they are elusive and reside in your blind spot. Triggers refer to what is called a negative anchored response. Because triggers are connected to a strong feeling you often just get wrapped up in the feeling and emotion and forget that there was something inside of you that created that response.
While the basic fight or flight responses are built into humans at the factory, you have a sophisticated overlay of responses that create ecstasy and misery. While it may seem convenient to ascribe your reactions to the world as someone else's creation, they are yours. You are the only person at the keyboard programming your internal computer. The facts are that you create your responses to stimuli in the world. Triggers are the things that you see or hear that are the primary stimulus of an automatic response. In order to discover what your triggers are you must take on a curious attitude about your reactions to things. Usually you have to discover your triggers backwards, meaning you start with the feeling and work back to what was the stimulus at the start of the process. To get there, ask yourself, "What was the thought that created that feeling?" and, "What happened right before that thought?" What happened right before your thought is usually the trigger.
Triggers take all sorts of forms and shapes. They usually revolve around the effect other people have on you that you don't seem to have any control over. Triggers can range from the way that somebody looks at you-a roll of the eyes, stern or disapproving look, looking away, shake of the head; to the way they say something-snippy, condescending, disapproving tone or words; to a little sound that they make-sighs, sucking of the teeth sounds, uhms, ahs; to a phrase or a set of words that they say to you.
When you get triggered you assume that your perception of the situation is true and accurate and that your bad feeling is caused by the external circumstances. Common phrases that you may hear are, "You made me angry," "She pissed me off," "They made me feel unwanted," "The phone is making me irritated." It feels like someone/they are doing something that "makes" you feel a certain way. When you are triggered into the Negative Intention Molecule, you feel the effect of what is going on. You feel exposed, vulnerable, and unable to protect yourself from what is happening. When you are triggered in this way you assume a Negative Intention and feel that your reaction is justified given their intention and actions.
Most of the time assuming Negative Intention is just that, an assumption that has not been verified. We call it a trigger because you go off half-cocked and ready to fire back. When you get triggered, the last thing on your mind is to check in with the other person to find out where he is really at. Usually when you are triggered in a negative way you automatically think about getting back at the person(adversarial revenge), or just feel demolished
Become Aware of What Triggers You
Once you have developed awareness of your triggers, the next time you get triggered you can say to yourself, "I was just triggered. I am noticing my thoughts and feelings." You will see the pattern of how you get triggered rather than be the subject of the trigger. Having this observer's view of your thoughts is much different than the knee jerk response when you are triggered. When you become aware of what triggers you into a negative state you are one giant step ahead of where you were.
If you fail to identify the trigger in Checking Your Attitude you may not be able to create the change you desire. It's like using a weed whacker to cut off a weed versus pulling the weed out at its root. Identifying your trigger takes you to the root of your pattern, and that's where you need to go to make real change. Triggers have an impact because they are followed by the thoughts and feelings of negative intent. This is the meaning that you ascribe to the trigger.