Let’s talk about a tendency many of us have to give most of our attention to the things that aren’t going our way and not enough attention to the things that are. A whole lot has to be going well for us to even be here in our lives … there is so much we take for granted. I know I have to catch myself when something stops going my way, something happens outside of my expectation, and it completely throws me off. Do you know what I mean?
The ancestral part of our brain is wired to protect us from danger. We have an innate programmed response to perceive danger and react to it. Fight or flight, locate the enemy and attack. But for many of us, the day to day dangers are rarely issues of survival, they are issues of perspective and how we respond is all important.
Taking personal responsibility is not an automatic response when something goes wrong in our lives. Rather, it’s a conscious response that involves a completely different part of the brain. Looking at negative situations in life objectively takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline and practice. Even if you have worked hard to cultivate a calm and compassionate mind, you can still get caught off guard by your animal instinct, especially if it’s something you perceive as a threat.
Of course you want to address the situation, but there are ways to approach these moments without being completely derailed by them. And none of us want to be derailed. If you allow yourself to get all caught up in something not going right, you start attracting more things like that. When it rains it pours, Right? One thing goes wrong and then another and then another… it almost becomes comical at some point. Well, that’s only because you started putting all your attention toward the thing you don’t want. That is how powerful we are. We are constantly creating and attracting things in our life based on our thoughts, words and actions.
So last week, I got hit with some outlandish bills that totally caught me off guard! I was majorly triggered. Within seconds, I went through a whole range of emotions…. starting with fear and panic that led to anger and a desire to attack. I started creating stories in my head that supported emotions which were just feeding the fire. I am not gonna lie. I was spinning out on this thing.
The ancestral, animal response is to fight back, to attack. All it takes is being caught off guard and triggered to unleash the defensive stance. We are not immune to this response just because we may have worked on ourselves a lot. Oh was I triggered!
Here is the magic about triggers, they show you exactly where you still need to grow. Tap tap tap… Here ya go, sweetie. But when you are in the middle of being triggered, you don’t see it as a wonderful thing! Believe me, when I get triggered as I was with the unexpected bills, I can have a reactionary email written and sent long before I come to my senses.
So I unleashed my own little tantrum for the better part of a day. I was THAT triggered! I wasn’t able to look at the situation with a clear head until the next day.
The first thing I did when I calmed down was to decide I was not going to let this situation have power over me. I was not going to give it another day of my awesome life. That decision helped remind me to look for my tools.
I remembered the universe is rigged in my favor. Oh yeah! Big aha! When we get triggered and we are functioning from a place of fear and reaction, we lose touch with all we know that keeps us on the up and up, as if you have entered a tunnel where the happy thoughts can’t shine. There is no light in there and anything that resembles light is unrecognizable. Until you make a decision you want to stop fighting and choose again you are not ready to remember or hear anything that will get you back on the high road.
So I remembered that I live in a loving universe and this was somehow all happening for me. As soon as I remembered this, I was able to really lean in and get curious, this is taking the high road. I began asking myself what this was bringing up for me. Why was I so upset? Yeah, it was a lot of money, but what else is going on here… because this was not just about money (it never really is). I discovered it was bringing up a safety issue for me.
Now I was getting somewhere. Often times if something really upsets you, there is an unmet need somewhere else crying out for attention. Three of the big ones are Love, Safety, and Acknowledgement. Once you are able to tap-in to figure out what the underlying need is, you can tend to it.
The way I chose to tend to it was just to comfort myself. You can do this like you would tend to a child… often times the unmet need stems from childhood. Offering the assurance your inner child needs helps you feel taken care of… and when your child self is taken care of, you can handle the situation like an adult. So that is exactly what I did. From a calm and centered place, I handled it.
The low road would be going all in on the story that I was being screwed and they are all out to get me. The high road is trusting in the belief this is all happening for me, even though I may not know how yet. When you focus on looking for evidence for how the world is working in your favor, you are training your mind to find evidence support that belief. You will notice more and more opportunities you might have skipped over had you decided to take the low road. Also, other people are more willing to help you when you are positive and looking for possibility, than when you are playing victim and blaming. Right? It’s all just so simple. When you choose the low road, it typically leads to a dead end that just doesn’t feel good for anyone.
Taking the high road instead, your world just opens up. Who knows where it will lead, but the ride feels a hell of a lot better and it’s way more fun!
I would love to hear about your experiences with consciously choosing the high road or even looking back in hindsight at where you could have chosen differently. Please join The Life coaching spot facebook group and tell me all about it!