Triggers Can Be Healed

I call this the Human Connection CODE.  C.O.D.E. stands for Communication Of Deep Empathy.  It’s one of the most powerful healing practices anyone can do to heal triggers. Triggers are those pesky, unexpected things that can blindside us and set us off emotionally.

As you may know, empathy can be communicated outwardly to others, or inwardly to yourself.  In this post, I’ll share how to give empathy to yourself.

Heal Your Triggers

First, choose something in your daily life that you find painfully irritating, annoying, hurtful or disgusting. Something you have little or no control over. Something you wish would just go away. Take a moment to recall the feelings of annoyance, irritation, hurt or disgust that come up for you.

You may not believe that this unwanted irritant can be used as a powerful way to heal your triggers, but it can.

Let Your Old Judgments Go

Next time you see or hear this irritating thing, let go of the history of harsh judgments you’ve been holding in your mind about it. It takes up a lot of RAM in your brain to carry this heavy load of judgmental evaluations. Allow yourself to hear or see this thing you strongly dislike, but see it objectively. See it as if you were a video camera simply capturing it accurately. Notice how it looks, sounds, feels. You might be able to sustain this camera-like objectivity for just a few moments.  Since we’re only human, we find that after a short time all the old judgments will rise up in your mind, like jackals howling loudly.

Feel Deep Self-Compassion Around Triggers

As each judgment comes up in your mind, give yourself a moment of self-empathy. That is, be a compassionate witness to your own pain. There’s an important distinction between empathy and sympathy.  Sympathy involves thoughts like “Poor thing, I’m such a victim, this is unfair!”  Instead, step outside of yourself just enough to be able to observe your pain. Challenge yourself to feel deep compassion for what you’re going through right now.

Each time you see or hear or feel this one thing over which you have no control, go immediately into this mode of self-empathy. Observe yourself as a compassionate witness to your own pain and suffering. Soothe yourself through it. Hold yourself gently. Some find it helpful to actually wrap their arms around themselves or place hands on the chest or stomach area, wherever the tension and pain are felt.

Practice Self-Soothing

If you’re willing to practice this day after day, time after time, something will begin to happen gradually. You’ll tap the power of self-soothing automatically and instantly. Every time this irritating thing presents itself, you’ll be healing your triggers. The irritant then becomes the healing catalyst. It’s hard to believe this now, but you actually start to feel grateful for the irritant because it gives you the chance to practice objective observation. And if you can’t maintain objective observation consciousness and you slip into jackal judgments, then you have the chance to practice giving self-empathy.

This reminds me of how homeopathic remedies can be effective. They dilute the irritating substance that triggers your body, and keep diluting it to the extreme. Then your body learns to recognize and accept it at extremely low levels, without the harsh reaction.  Objective observation consciousness reduces our response to the irritant to a tiny fraction of how we used to react with deep pain.

Stretch Out Those Peaceful Moments

The human connection CODE (Communication Of Deep Empathy) works in a similar way. You empower yourself to heal your triggers. You learn how to simply dilute the pain of your own harsh reactions, such as anger.  Remember, anger is born out of judgment. Let go of the judgment and observe the situation objectively like a video camera. That’s when the anger vanishes for just a moment. Practice doing that daily, and you find you can stay in that objective now-moment a bit longer.  As you stretch out those moments of deep inner peace, eventually you become increasingly desensitized to even the most irritating trigger.

It will be easier, however, if you start out with a less severe trigger. Instead of your spouse’s extreme spending habits, or that political figure you can’t stand, pick something simple. Like the neighbor who knocks on your door more than you like, or a friend’s peccadillo.

Experiment with Disempowering Triggers

Do try this as soon as you possibly can.  It takes only a minute or two to start. Imagine how relieved and liberated you’ll feel when you finally get that proverbial monkey off your back!  If you like, share your experiences as you heal your triggers here on my blog site. Experiment with this as much as you like, and let the self-soothing and self-healing begin. You can also share your experiences and questions here:


About swpollack

I’m an independent mediator and collaborative communication coach who can help you to co-create greater ease, connection and mutual understanding in your personal and professional relationships. As a non-traditional specialist, my aim is to get concrete results for my clients in a fraction of the time usually required by traditional therapy and counseling. Please visit my business website: . The emotion-based coaching work I do is deeply therapeutic, yet I am neither a psychologist nor a psychotherapist. Instead I work with a holistic, empathic process called compassionate, nonviolent communication. I also facilitate ongoing support groups for people who want to learn this organic process of nonjudgmental communication to help build bridges of connection, harmony, collaboration and understanding. For more about my Build Compassionate Relationships meetup group, visit: . I’ve been offering these services to the public since 2000 in the greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, as well as by phone and through Skype conferencing. . Nonviolent Communication is a process developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. It’s based on a very pure, nonjudgmental language of feelings, needs and requests. I’ve found this to be a powerful tool in my mediation work which involves bringing two or more people together despite a painful history of conflict.
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