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For some, it’s the sight of a can of beer or the smell of that one cologne that will take us back to when “He” loved and comforted us. For others when someone does or says certain things, we put up a wall, disconnect, or even defend. Many times we automatically react or respond to these “insignificant” moments without even being aware. But I believe that in order to truly grow, thrive, and heal from a place of freedom and true self, we have to know our TRIGGERS.
By now, you know a few of mine. Soda and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Ben and Jerry are not two men I would cuddle up with on the couch! But the way the flavor “Chocolate Therapy” used to make me feel…that may be up for debate! While these are two very surface level triggers, they give deeper insight into what I struggle with. I used to cope with sugar. My way of retreating and “dealing” was through sugary drinks and ice cream.
That was until I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease a few months ago and realized that the ice cream and sugar were literally destroying my colon and small intestine. I had to cut them out cold turkey. Now with that, I can no longer retreat to my usual corner on the couch with Netflix and Chocolate Therapy. I have to face the pain of my disease, my overwhelming day, marital arguments, emotional brokenness; without them.
This would be easier if I never had to be around ice cream and soda again, but they are EVERYWHERE!! Especially now that I can’t have them! It’s like when you decide not to have sex anymore. Of course now you want it all the time! Every sexy man that walks by is your trigger!
Most of us try to suppress and even ignore the fact that we have triggers. We try and pray away desires that may never fully go away. So I would like to pose a different way of living and thinking so that we can be aware of our negative triggers and control our responses to them.
Become one with your triggers. Know all of them. Write them out. Know yourself!! Don’t judge or get down on yourself about them. Lovingly accept that you are addicted to chocolate ice cream. Accept that it got you through some very dark and painful times. Acknowledge also that it can no longer benefit you. Sorry, that was all about me, but you get the point. Acknowledge the same things about yourself. Fill in the blanks based on your triggers.
Implement Boundaries. What needs to be in place to ensure you can stand strong? For me, it means no more Ben and Jerry’s in the house. No matter how much the kids and my husband love it. It means I told my husband to NEVER let me buy a soda when we are out or bring one into the house. For you, it may be deleting some numbers out of your phone and blocking them. Maybe cutting out some shows you watch because of what it brings up. It may mean you interact with certain family members on a limited basis because you have painful reminders from the past. Protect yourself, in a healthy way. Ask yourself what do you need to survive, thrive, and walk in freedom?
Get Accountability and Support. Find a safe sister, spouse, coach or therapist to support you and hold you accountable to your goals and boundaries. Let them know what your triggers are and the boundaries around them. Then, allow them to ask those tough questions. Check in and ask for help when you are struggling to stand. REAL Women sister circles are obviously a great space for this! We must not fight alone. In order to win, we need each other!
Know your triggers. Process through them and create a “Trigger Plan” so you don’t get TRIGGER happy!