Updated: Aug 5, 2020
“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.”~ Angela Davis
Again, thank you to all that has continued to be on this journey with me! The next entry is here!
We last left off with acknowledging the tie between emotional triggers and identity. Continuing with Kathy Obear’s work in mind, we have to learn how to understand and manage the triggers that make it difficult to be in the moment. Without addressing, understanding, and managing these triggers, it is just as bad as sweeping trash under the rug. Though ignoring these triggers is seen as a quick “fix”, these problems still haunt us in the back of our minds. In an unfortunate case that one is triggered without adequate advice and/or resources, they can easily slip back into various different negative feelings and emotions due to the lack of proper care. We as the black community have been taught to just work through our emotions without ever truly addressing them. Instead, we brush them off and carry on without realizing the toll this takes on our mental well-being. It is just like shaking a soda, letting it sit, and shaking it all over again because the problem was never addressed. This is the routine until you have had it, your breaking point (and the soda explodes). All of those negative emotions that have crowded the back of your mind until there was no more room. And you have no choice but to unleash these bottled negative emotions on the nearest objects and/or people. We cannot allow these emotions to slowly eat away at our minds because it affects everything around us. Now, these emotions have caused your mind to mistreat your body by not eating, getting sick, lashing out, etc. as well as damaging your energy. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, so now this negative energy is invading not only you but also your surroundings (possibly triggering other people). Therefore, we have to learn how to deal with these triggers to stop the cycle from continuing. The workshop that I mentioned in my previous entry provides the Tools for Navigating Triggering Events as:
PAN (Pay Attention Now, and avoid snap judgments)
Use self-talk to rewrite the story (change your own narrative)
Explore the roots of the trigger
Set ground rules, expectations, and boundaries
Share feelings and test to see if other participants are feeling triggered as well
Move into deeper dialogue by asking questions to gain further understanding or invite others into the conversation to respond
Additionally, we have to hold ourselves accountable for potentially triggering others as we navigate throughout life. Though your intent was not to trigger someone, your words and/or actions can potentially cause others’ spiritual discomfort simply due to not knowing the “story” behind the trigger. I know first hand the extreme discomfort I get once I am triggered, and I would hate to cause others that same feeling. Therefore, this workshop also provided helpful tips on how to manage the situation if you have accidentally triggered someone:
Explore the possibility that your comments or actions have triggered other community members
Acknowledge the person’s perspective and experience
Apologize for any negative impact
Commit to responding differently in the future
If you don’t know why you and/or your actions triggered someone or how to respond differently, explore this by asking for help from a credible resource or researching on your own. Refrain from asking the person who was triggered to relive that moment by educating you.
As my favorite artist and idol of all time, Tupac Amaru Shakur said, “It's time for us as a people to start makin some changes. Let's change the way we eat. Let's change the way we live. And let's change the way we treat each other. You see the old way wasn't workin so it's on us to do what we gotta do to survive.” We have seen how ignoring these emotional feelings have caused deep generational curses within the black community. We cannot ignore our internalized trauma any longer, we have to heal ourselves. And that starts with addressing, understanding, and managing/coping with our triggers.