“Jerk!” I said, annoyed. “I can’t believe he just pulled out in front of you like that!”
Francisco (my husband), said nothing, but his hands tightened on the wheel. As we passed the other driver, I glared at him, wondering from what planet he just came. Reckless drivers or thoughtless drivers are a bit of a pet peeve of mine – particularly after my sister died in a car accident in 2004.
As soon as I got some of my satisfaction glaring at the other driver, I knew I had to clean it up. I got my tell-tale warning tightening in my gut. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “I just created more of the same.”
Sure enough, less than 20 minutes later, another car did the exact same thing. This time, however, I told myself I wasn’t going to react.
I began to tap and made a conscious choice to think kinder thoughts toward this driver. “Well, maybe he didn’t see us. Maybe he was just distracted by someone in the car. Maybe his mind was completely elsewhere.”
(For those of you who work with me, you know that this is what the re-framing process looks like as we tap on an issue we’re triggered about.)
As you all well know, life happens and we react. We get triggered. We get annoyed. We get frustrated. We get ticked off. We get angry. And when we do, because of the intensity of our reaction, we then are creating not only our current moments, but also our future experiences, from that place.
This is why creating happy thoughts, happy feelings, happy experiences is so important.
But how do we get from triggered to happy? It’s not usually a one-step process, is it? (It isn’t for me, at least.)
First, recognize that your annoyance or irritation is because you are triggered. This means you have some blocked energy.
Second, realize that if you are triggered, it is because you have an inner conversation about whatever you’re triggered by. For example, my inner conversation about the other driver was “He was being thoughtless and careless and could have caused an accident by his actions.” Can you hear the fear in that? When we’re triggered – even if we’re angry – there’s fear underneath the trigger, underneath the anger.
Third, make a conscious choice to shift the energy, to release the anger and fear. Doing this will keep you from creating more of the same in your life. And there are lots of ways to do this. In my opinion, one of the most effective ways is tapping. In the above example, I tapped on this thought: “Even though I think he was being thoughtless and careless and could have caused an accident by his actions, he didn’t. We are okay. We are fine.” I just took what I thought before and added a peaceful part to it. (By the way, it’s not necessarily important to tap to a thought; it’s more important to tap on a negative feeling .)
But if you’re not tapping on it, or if you’re not in a place where you can tap on it, what can you do? Find a way to feel better. Think a better thought. Just saying the statement above is a better-feeling thought, isn’t it? And following that up with other reasons why the person might have acted the way they did, in this case, he might have been distracted, he might not have seen us, he might have thought he had more room, etc., also diffuses the energy of the trigger.
Last, decide you’re going to pay attention to how your feelings and your words are creating your experiences. Once you really get this, you will absolutely decide that thinking better thoughts and feeling happier feelings is profoundly important and you’ll begin to create them consistently. Because you’ll truly get how your words and your feelings are affecting your experiences in your life.
And that is worth paying attention to.