You are at a dinner party with friends and your partner criticises you in front of everyone.
I am sure you have experienced such a situation in your life or at least witnessed it.
It is one of these moments when a strong emotion surges in you, this kind of emotional reaction inside of you that is highly uncomfortable and you just want it to disappear.
Let’s explore the situation with an illustrative example.
Jacky criticises John at a dinner party in front of all their friends. John has this strong emotional reaction inside of him, but he just tries to stay calm and somehow divert the situation.
Back at home, John confronts Jacky and explains that this is inappropriate to do in front of everybody. Jacky explains that honesty is a desirable quality and that she even sees honesty as an act of love. Despite the explanation, they end up in a quarrel and John tries to convince Jacky that her behaviour is not ok and that she should change.
My question is though, is that really the most fruitful way to approach such a situation?
Even if Jacky takes it to heart and changes her behaviour, is John safe now? Will he never ever feel that emotional reaction inside of him for the rest of his life? Well, what about John’s boss or any other of the 8 billion people on earth… what if they criticise him in front of others?
Will John not experience exactly the same inner reaction?
Will John try to control and convince all of them to change?
This approach will not resolve the trigger, even if Jacky never behaves in the same way again. It didn’t resolve the trigger, John merely reduced the risk of being triggered.
When such an emotional reaction arises, there is always a trigger behind. So how can John resolve the trigger? Preceding these kinds of inner emotional reactions is a belief in our mind, mostly subconscious. By exploring what belief makes John feel so bad about the situation, he will be able to bring this belief into his conscious awareness. Only then, will he be able to resolve it.
As a young boy, John’s teacher often criticised him in front of his school mates. Through this experience, he adopted the belief that he can never make anything right and that he is a failure.
When he faced this situation with Jacky in his adult life, it triggered him because it reminded him subconsciously to the situation he faced as a child and reminded him that he is a failure.
Thus, the only sustainable solution for John is to overcome the trigger and that is to shatter the limiting belief that he is a failure.
How can he do this?
John needs to see the unreality behind that belief and then consciously decide to let it go.
This limiting belief is keeping John in his mental box and he tried to make Jacky conform with his own mental box instead of stepping out of his box and expanding his awareness and overcome this limiting belief.
Have you also experienced these strong inner reactions in your life?
Don’t accept them as normal and inevitable as most people do.
We all have the potential to overcome them if we are willing to do so.
You are so much more than any kind of mental box, belief or emotional reaction.
Personal development is all about challenging our own mental boxes.
I myself changed my approach because I used to be like John and it was a constant struggle.
From my own experience, working with my personal mental boxes is so much more sustainable and liberating.
Every time someone triggers me, I see it as a gift. It gives me the opportunity to see something in my own psychology that I haven’t seen before, the opportunity to open my mental box and expand my understanding and awareness.
Let’s enjoy conscious growth together!