I have been thinking about the word “triggered” that is bandied about so much these days. It has become somewhat of a loaded word, but all it means is that something has touched a nerve. I see triggers as opportunities for growth. Why do I respond the way I do? Where is it coming from? Is there a pattern? Can I change my response?
I have noticed a pattern, recently, in my own triggers. Someone says something (the trigger) and I feel anger because I feel like I am being shut down. Even a Facebook post by a friend who is passionate about a viewpoint and implying (or explicitly stating) that if you don’t agree with them you’re an idiot or a libtard or a snowflake or rethuglican can trigger the response. It doesn’t even have to be me that you are shutting down. Name calling shuts people down. Telling people to go fuck themselves if they don’t agree with you shuts people down. It makes me angry. But I see the pattern now. I am angry because I feel like I am being shut down. What do I do with this knowledge?
The first thing I do is acknowledge that my response is my problem. I don’t want these things to anger me, so how do I diffuse it? I acknowledge it. I process it. And I don’t take the bait. I don’t escalate the rhetoric. My hope is that by knowing why I feel angry that the anger will be diffused. The important thing is to not let the toxic online environment silence my voice. The irony, though, is that by putting myself out there with this blog, I will be inviting more triggers. Not everyone will agree with me. I may trigger them, and they may tell me what they think of me. I will have to learn how to manage that. It’s the one aspect of starting Just One Voice that I find most daunting. It is an opportunity for growth, and I say “Bring it on!”