Before You React... 6 Tools to Stay Trigger-Free!

How people treat you is there karma; how you react to it is yours.- Wayne Dyer

The holiday season is among us, which means: time with family! Let's be honest, no matter how much we love our blood line, TOO much togetherness can sometimes push our buttons. The question I've been getting lately is, "How do I not react when my family drives me nuts?" First, let's be real clear that their intention is not to make you crazy, but to spend quality time with you. It's just that... somehow you fall back into those old roles and habits of being that may not be attractive and may not reflect AT ALL the individual you are now. Your power in this situation is to not assume those unflattering roles, and instead practice peace.  But since I know "practicing peace" is sometimes too much to grasp, here are 6 tools that will have you knocking back your egg nog and toasting to your loved ones in no time!

Before heading into a situation you know might be primed with trigger-happy opportunities, take inventory of what your buttons are and who might be pushing them. This would be the Uncle that makes jokes about the legitimacy of your business, or the cousin that likes to point out how much weight you've gained since you last saw each other. When you take the time to lay out the worst case scenario, here's what happens:

You start noticing their patterns of conversation have nothing, really, to do with you. Your Uncle always talks about business and your cousin always talks about weight. Even if there's some judgment tied up in their conversation, remember! a truly happy, grounded, fulfilled individual has NO reason to judge others. Recognize their words having NOTHING to do with you, that reflect their level of contentment and peace. In this way, you desensitize yourself to any comments made regarding subjects that are sensitive to you, and see these people, not as the enemy, but as individuals needing acceptance and love. If they can't have it for themselves, they certainly can't have it for you! (It's nothing personal!)

After you've "set the scene" you want to then REMOVE all expectations about how it's going to go down. Yep, take your inventory of information, and affirm, "I release myself and others from expectations and allow Divine grace to govern all situations and people with love. As I release these expectations I feel freedom, peace, and joy to let things unfold with ease." As you say this, imagine each anticipated argument and negative comment slipping alway and being replaced with an interaction that's more loving for all involved. Rather than expecting the worst, this allows you to hold the space for something better!

When your trigger goes off, take 3-5 deep, full, slow breaths (more if you have time). This will ground you back into your body and start calming the fight or flight response that has been fired. It's also an opportunity for you to collect your thoughts, so that you can respond in an assertive, honest, and loving way. 

When you're starting to become affected by another person or situation, stop and press pause. Pressing pause allows you to reevaluate before you react, to see that person or situation as it is, not as you are interpreting it to be through your Ego. Remember you are viewing everything through a biased lens. The Ego's job is to poke you every time there's a potential threat to you, and is overly active when it comes to seeking out negativity. When you press pause you can ask, "Did this person REALLY mean to hurt me, or am I just taking it that way?" "Is there a more positive and inspiring way to look at this situation?" 

I'll be the first one to admit that this concept is hard to swallow sometimes! I remember being asked the question once, "Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?" What do you think my response was? "I want to be happy, BUT...." Yeah, no buts. It's a choice to be or not to be, and the Ego will always fight to defend your "rightness". So a way I navigate around this is to ask:

-Why is it so important for me to be right here? 
-Who's peace is being affected?
-If someone else's behavior is out of alignment with my values, what is another way I could approach this situation other than to say "your behavior is wrong"?

Nothing is black and white. No way is the right way and no way is wrong. It is simply... a way of doing, a way of being.

When someone else's words or behaviors are out of alignment with your core values (respect, honesty, compassion, etc.) it's important to be assertive and express how you feel.

Example: "I really want to hear what you have to say, but this is not the manner in which I would like to continue this conversation. I understand that you are upset, but it's important we both speak to each other with kindness and respect. In this way, we are not adding more hurt to the table."

Stress that the importance is for each person to be heard and that by using name-calling or hurtful words, the actual problem will not be resolved and instead a new one will be added to the mix. Then, commit to a time when you can continue the conversation. If that person is still in a highly reactive state, don't let your blood boil over it. Recognize that what they are really needing is to be heard, acknowledged, and loved, put on your "angel wings" and show them compassion and understanding. **I do need to emphasize that if this person is continuing to treat you with disrespect to get their needs met, this might be a relationship to reevaluate. Especially if that person is unwilling to find healthier, more loving ways to communicate.**

Remember, your point of power is always in your choosing to align with Love.
Peace can only follow.