Over the last several months, I’ve observed more kindness and compassion in some areas but also more rudeness, lashing out and online bullying. It seems like it’s at an all time high. Have you noticed this too? For some, perhaps, the current charged environment of 2020 is making it ‘okay’ for people to come out of the rafters and pass judgement on others.

It’s been quite the year, so it’s understandable why many people feel on edge.

But today I want to turn the spotlight inwards.

Here’s the thing… whenever someone lashes out in a spontaneous judgement towards another human being, be it in traffic, online, or anywhere else, it’s usually not about the person they are ‘angry’ with. It’s actually about what’s going on for them.

You might be thinking, but Janine, how can that be? That person did something or said something stupid, and clearly is in the wrong.

Whether the person in question did something wrong is beside the point. (And just to be clear, I’m not saying that everyone gets a free pass to act however they want, nor am I suggesting you be a doormat!)

The point is when we feel triggered by something, it’s an opportunity to explore what’s REALLY going on.

To go within ourselves not outside ourselves and examine the emotion and story behind it. (Not to mention an immense opportunity to grow!)

For most people, it’s easy to hide behind a keyboard or a steering wheel and rashly judge someone else as being ‘wrong’. It’s much more difficult to look in the mirror and ask why that was a trigger for us.

The truth can feel uncomfortable because it forces us to admit that we have some work to do to heal, and to clean up how we show up.

Unfortunately, as humans we often feel threatened, so our response is to lash out. When I say threatened, I don’t necessarily mean physically. It could be a threat to our identity, or way of viewing the world. Maybe it’s an old wound that we never fully faced.

One thing is for sure, it can feel scary.

Yet, imagine a world where we all looked within before reacting to others… wow!

What if we thought of the ‘other’ person as one of our loved ones – our aging mother or our teenage son or daughter who struggles with low self-esteem?

Think of a situation where something triggered you and you lashed out. Now imagine how you would have reacted differently had it been a loved one.

The next time you encounter a charged situation, try this short exercise:

1. Pause and take a step back. Give yourself a moment before doing or saying anything. Take a deep breath. Count to 10.

2. Ask yourself, why is this situation triggering me? Or what is this situation teaching me? Clear your head and allow whatever thoughts you have to float in without judgement. You may not be able to fully answer in the moment, but it can help you to move past your first reaction to get a little perspective.

Do this anytime you are triggered, and you will begin to uncover the story behind the reaction that is holding you captive.

What once triggered you will simply BE. This is a great practice and great place to BE!

Give it a go. I would love to hear what you think!