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Trigger: A Definition

I Googled the definition of “trigger” and I didn’t agree with what I read so I wrote my own. 

Merriam-Webster has some work to do around blame and unresolved issues. 😏

The definition I found went like this: “to cause a strong emotional reaction in someone, especially because they are made to remember something bad that has happened in the past.”

“MADE to?” Let’s be clear—nothing outside of you truly causes your disturbances, therefore no one and nothing can MAKE you feel or do anything.

“Something BAD?” What’s bad? You choose what emotions you want to feel based on what meanings you assign to the things outside of you.

Is it really this easy? It can be. But most times it takes a lot of healing and practice if you’re used to blaming your unresolved issues on others. And that’s ok.

Healing is a process, not an event.

So, here’s my new definition for trigger: “a strong emotional reaction due to the surfacing of a memory in which you perceive something as bad until you heal it.”

Subtle, yet effective, I think.

The new definition acknowledges the strong feelings that surface with a memory, it takes ownership of the assigned meaning to the memory, and most importantly, it carries so much compassion for the healing of the memory.

What triggers have come up in your life recently? Be present with yourself for a moment. Place your hand on your heart and let the trigger come forward.

Acknowledge the strong feelings that surface. What do you feel? Sad? Angry? Ashamed?

Take ownership of the meaning you’re assigning to the memory. Why do you feel this way?

Find deep compassion for yourself. Be gentle. You are a divine being having a human experience. It’s ok. You didn’t do anything wrong. Can you make space for healing?


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