A trigger only continues to be a trigger when you give your power to it.
The more we play up the drama with the people and environments around us, the more we internalize feelings of damage and scarcity.
Simply put, we must take back our power with outside words and actions.
So, how can we work to accomplish this?
Lindsay provided a few valuable grounding techniques (ones that we will dive deeper into at the Immersion Experience) and I, obviously, have tried and true techniques that have worked wonders in my own life, for those folks like me that are more direct with their actions.
I should preface this to include that both of our insights will reach different people and can easily be used separate or together to find solutions that work best in your life.
I'll give you an example in my professional life. For years, my perceived worth in my job was based solely on what I could do to ensure my boss's happiness. If he was having a bad day, I internalized it and interpreted it as "he was mad at me....I did something wrong....I need to fix this before I get fired" even if it had nothing to do with me.
I interpreted someone else's actions as me not trying hard enough, not being perfect enough, making too many mistakes.
In a nutshell, I felt unworthy and unqualified.
When fertility treatments started and I began to reach out to others, research coping strategies and practice outlets for my mental anguish, I started to realize the shame spiral I was putting myself through.
My biggest take away was this:
I am digging deep and doing the best I can in my life. I cannot control the actions and events outside of me. I can only control my reaction to them.
Over time, and with much practice, I stopped focusing on how other people should act and what they should say, reminding myself I could not control them.
Instead, whenever something started ruffling my feathers or made me uncomfortable, I started repeating this mantra under my breath:
How can I remain calm and in control of my own actions in this moment.
Over and over and over until I could visualize myself in full. From the way I stood, to the emotions on my face, to the words I spoke.
There is no reason to fight fire with fire, and quite frankly, no use wasting precious energy fighting at all.
Writing down and repeating OUT LOUD canned responses to sticky situations helps neutralize the issue so you can remove yourself and recompose (and then consider some of those groundings techniques!)
Is it a perfect method? No. We are human and are guaranteed to make mistakes.
When I'm feeling spicy I may simply ask the person to elaborate or further explain their remark, so at the very least I can determine if their comment was well meaning and if I should exude mental energy on them with education and empathy. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it's better to part ways.
When grief bubbles to the surface, and it will if you have walked through any sort of traumatic event in your life, be it infertility or otherwise, this is when the practice and extra effort you have been putting into neutralizing triggers and refocusing your mind really shine.
Although I am hard-headed, strong-willed and determined, I am not immune to grief. I carry it with me and even walked with a small episode this week, if I'm completely honest.
For me, the effects of a trigger from grief present themselves with emotional childhood, lethargy, and lack of interest in my surroundings. I may experience something that makes me nostalgic about my grief, then the next couple of days I will process it.
I always tell my husband it's coming. The last thing I need is him not fully aware I'm acting different for a specific, tough reason, and him calling me out, me interpreting it as "I'm unworthy of my feelings" and starting a shame spiral. It's paramount that the ones closest to you understand, or at the very least, provide the pillar of strength or the space you need at the time.
I am direct with him.
"I am having some grief. I am sad. I will likely cry for and it's not going to be pretty. Please don't try to fix me. I am okay, but these emotions need to go somewhere other than my heart."
I know that sounds blunt, but it has been the biggest lesson learned about the dynamics as husband and wife. He needs me to literally spell things out to him, so I do.
The episode will happen. I will take the time to cry as hard as I need to followed by many cleansing, deep breaths. I will wash my face, hug my bulldog and my husband and choose to move forward.
Sad moments are welcome in my life just as much as happy ones are. Accepting the good and the bad moments is a practice I am so very thankful for.