There has been so much shifting going on in our world lately that many of us are finding we feel angry and frustrated with both ourselves and each other. I sure know I've been much more aware of my own strong emotions lately.
So what can we do when we feel out of control with anger, resentment, frustration and unease? When we feel so emotionally triggered that we lose our own center? How can we be more compassionate instead of more resentful of those around us that may trigger us?
It's not always easy, but with some simple tools and techniques, you can practice finding your center when you are emotionally triggered.
Here are a few ways I get close to compassion when it feels like a difficult feat.
It's super easy to discount our feelings. None of us like to be mad or frustrated, at ourselves or others. But sometimes we need to be. We need to fully feel our big strong feelings in order to let them go. That may mean admitting to yourself that you've lost respect for someone you love, that you feel hatred or resentment toward them, or whatever else. It may mean that you admit you're disappointed in yourself. Whatever it is, feelings are fleeting so honor them and it will help them move.
One of my favorite techniques for releasing difficult emotions is Emotional Freedom Technique. While you can learn to use it in a complex manner, there are also some basics that anyone can do easily. Check out this link here to learn more and learn tapping with me, for free!
When we get emotionally triggered, it's never about others -- it's about how we feel when we allow another person's energy to overtake our own connection with ourselves. It's essential we come back to who we really are in order to maintain our own inner peace. When we allow others' opinions, comments, frustrations, and energy to affect us, we lose our connection to ourselves -- and that's what ends up making us feel so bad; not what "they" are doing. When I'm triggered by others, I find the quickest relief by putting my hands over my heart and reminding myself that my own decisions, opinions, feelings, and beliefs can never be taken from me. It helps take me out of defensive mode to a place of knowing I am perfectly safe and fine being just who I am.
It is also very helpful to shift harmful beliefs - things we may believe at a conscious or subconscious level that don't serve us in our lives. A few beliefs I see often in clients:
Harmful beliefs can cause a lot of trouble but they aren't difficult to clear. In How To Heal Yourself When No One Else Can, I teach Chakra Tapping and The Sweep techniques (chapter 8) to help you release these. Each one only takes a few minutes to learn!
This meditation can be hugely helpful and was shared by Chris Gross, author of Indie Spiritualist.
"We begin by closing our eyes and taking two or three long, slow deep breaths into our belly. We do this simply to relax ourselves and bring our awareness into the here and now. The loving-kindness aspiration always begins with us, so bring your awareness to your heart center in the middle of your chest and stay there for a moment or two. Don’t think about this area of your body but rather, just be aware of it. You may begin to sense a feeling of warmth, joy, love, or possibly nothing at all, which is completely fine. Once you feel anchored into your heart center mentally say to yourself, “May I be at peace. May I be at ease. May I be free from suffering.” Now, take a moment to truly contemplate what it is that you’re saying—what it would feel like to sincerely be at peace, be at ease, and be free from suffering. Once you’ve done that, mentally repeat the aspiration to yourself one more time. “May I be at peace. May I be at ease. May I be free from suffering.”
After we’ve developed a feeling loving kindness towards our self, we then move on to someone we love. This person can be a spouse, child, spiritual teacher and so forth. Anyone you can love easily is suitable. With our eyes closed, envision this person in your mind (if possible) and send them loving kindness from your heart to theirs. As you do, mentally recite, “May (person’s name) be at peace. May (person’s name) be at ease. May (person’s name) be free from suffering.”
Next, we move on to sending loving-kindness to a friend or relative―a person we feel goodwill towards. Again, bring an image of them into your mind (if possible) while sending them love from your heart to theirs. Then, recite the previous aspiration again, “May (person’s name) be at peace. May (person’s name) be at ease. May (person’s name) be free from suffering.”
We then think of someone we’re neutral towards. This can be the person who serves us coffee at the local coffee shop, our mailman/woman, or anyone in our lives we’re typically impartial towards. Again, bring an image of them into your mind (if possible) while sending them love from your heart to theirs, while reciting the aspiration, “May (person’s name) be at peace. May (person’s name) be at ease. May (person’s name) be free from suffering.” (With the neutral person, it’s possible we may not know their name, which is okay. Still send them love and make the aspiration to them without using a name.)
From the neutral person, we then move onto a difficult person. For example, this can be a boss or coworker, an in-law, generally anyone who is a source of irritation in our lives. Hold the image of them in your mind and no matter how difficult it may be, while sending them love from your heart to theirs and reciting the aspiration, “May (person’s name) be at peace. May (person’s name) be at ease. May (person’s name) be free from suffering.”
(Some teachers leave the loving-kindness practice at just making those aspirations, which is perfectly fine. You will certainly begin to experience changes in your life from working with only those. Other teachers incorporate two more steps, which I personally use and find beneficial, so here they are.)
After we’ve sent loving-kindness to ourselves, a loved one, a friend/relative, a neutral person and a difficult person, we then hold all of these people in our hearts and minds simultaneously (including our self), and say, “My I, my loved one, friend/relative, neutral person, and difficult person all be at peace, be at ease, and be free from suffering.” (Make sure to use their actual names and not those generic descriptive terms).
And as our final step, we then imagine the love we’ve been sending out of our hearts to become a glowing white or yellow light that begins first to engulf the room that we are in, then spreads to covering our city, then state, then spreading to cover our entire country, and neighboring countries until he entire planet earth is engulfed in the loving whit or yellow light. From there, the light then extends out into space, out into the farthest reaches of the universe until all that is left is this warm, loving light… and from this place, we make the final aspiration, “May all beings be at peace. May all beings be at ease. May all beings be free from suffering.”