Heal Your Triggers Instead of Trying to Avoid Them – Here is How


Feeling upset at work?

Do you ever feel a strong emotional response to someone’s behavior, even when your mind knows that your reaction is excessive? If yes, you are not alone. It happens to all of us from time to time. We can look at a situation rationally and understand that there is no real danger, but we feel emotional regardless. Our minds tell us we “should” feel okay but our hearts are in distress.  

Here are some situations people occasionally share with me on social media:

  • feeling targeted by a hostile supervisor,

  • feeling excluded from meetings,

  • feeling undervalued, or

  • feeling isolated.

LinkedIn connections often send me messages to ask how they can change other people’s behaviors because they feel victimized. My heart breaks knowing that they are in pain, but I wish they would realize that the only person they can truly change is themselves. If they carry a deep wound, they will only find relief when they heal it.

Personal empowerment

To be fair, I do write extensively about building quality professional relationships and having influence, but it is grounded in mutual trust, respect, and inspirational leadership – not control. When people feel hurt and point fingers at others or blame external circumstances, they are not in a good place emotionally, which is a prerequisite to learn how to become more influential. Their need to control others is what makes their pain even stronger.

We all have the responsibility to shift our focus from other people’s behaviors to ourselves. Healing comes from working on ourselves, not trying to control everybody else. When someone’s behavior triggers an exaggerated emotional response within us, it is because it touched on an old wound that never fully healed.

We have three choices: continue to suffer forever, spend the rest of our lives avoiding triggers, or take back control and heal. This choice should be an easy one! It’s time to heal once and for all, but how?

Find the root cause

In this article, I am not talking about any form of abuse. This is about behaviors that leave most people undisturbed, or perhaps some individuals might not like or agree with something but they will get over it and forget it within minutes.

If something hurts you more than you think it should, ask yourself what you wanted to see happen instead. Once you can identify what you need, you will be able to find new ways to get your needs met.

Let’s go back to the examples I had mentioned above.

1.      Feeling targeted by a hostile supervisor is often a sign that you don’t trust yourself enough to keep you safe, so you need others to make you feel safe.

2.      Feeling excluded from meetings, decision-making, or other opportunities may mean that you struggle with the feeling of belonging. You need other people to include you because you tend to feel like an outsider.

3.      Feeling undervalued often means that you have difficulty appreciating your own worth and you need other people to give you reassurance and validation that you are enough.

4.      Feeling isolated can be the result of too much criticism of yourself and others. It can be hard to build heartfelt connections when we keep having judgmental thoughts about ourselves and others.

These are very common examples that may or may not be true for you. Please take a moment to ask yourself what you need from other people. If you get hurt when they don’t behave the way you needed them to, identify what your heart is really asking for.

Get your needs met

Remember your three choices: continue to suffer forever, spend the rest of your life avoiding triggers, or take back control and heal.

To take back control and heal, you have to give yourself what you need most. Once you become your own source of healing and well-being, other people’s behaviors won’t have much power over you anymore. Let’s go back to the previous examples.

1.      Feeling targeted –> Focus on trust! Trust in yourself, in your ability to handle problems, and trust that things will be ok. Make a very long list of your strengths and accomplishments to remind yourself of how strong and resilient you are. Remember that you’ve overcome bigger challenges in the past. Use affirmations such as “Things always work out. All is well.”

2.      Feeling excluded –> Don’t wait for other people to open doors for you. Give yourself permission to express yourself. Volunteer to serve on committees or take leadership roles. Focus on the value you bring to the table. See yourself as an insider rather than an outsider, and others will too.

3.      Feeling undervalued –> You need to see your own worth. Start by making a list of your qualities, expertise, character traits, and everything else that shows the value you bring to the world. Use the affirmation “I am enough.” Once you let yourself see your own worth, you will no longer need external validation.

4.      Feeling isolated –> Pay attention to your thoughts and when you observe criticism, redirect your attention to appreciation and gratitude. Look for things to appreciate in yourself and others. Practice compassion for others and yourself. You will naturally feel closer to other people and your relationships will improve.

The bottom line

I barely touched the surface on these 4 examples because I am attempting to keep the word count reasonable. If you would like more guidance on how to get your needs met, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My goal in this article is to show you that you will heal when you stop waiting for other people to meet your needs and you start being the source of what you’ve been craving, whether it is acceptance, appreciation, trust, or respect.

We tend to crave what we didn’t get, or didn’t get enough of, from our parents when we were kids. In adulthood, we naturally look to other people to give us what we crave, but it is a recipe for disappointment (in most cases, especially in the workplace). Remember, your healing will not come from controlling other people’s behaviors but from healing yourself so that their actions don’t affect you much.

So go, love yourself more, have more compassion, see your worth, find your voice, do what makes you happy!!!

If you are ready to stop unnecessary suffering, let me help you. Click here to schedule a call with me and I’ll show you how you can find inner-peace and a sense of safety without needing other people’s behavior to change.

Much love to you!

About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, and online courses. Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset.

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