Strong Emotional Reaction? Stay Present and Tap For Personal Growth

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This was an interesting week. Difficult in one way, yet powerful and amazing in another.

I received an email that brought me to tears. I was triggered by someone who has triggered me many times before. During those other times I have felt correctly angry, defensive, and put the blame on her. I have composed hundreds of responses in my head, occasionally sending one, but more often saying nothing but sulking about it for days.

The difference this time was I knew immediately what I was feeling was not about the email, this person, or the words she said.

This time I bypassed the anger and defensiveness and went right to the sadness and grief behind it. While part of me deeply felt the sadness another part of me stayed away and witnessed, held the space, and assured the wounded part that this was an opportunity for growth, an opportunity to heal.

The next morning I had an opening in my schedule, so I gave myself a session. I treated myself as I would a client. I asked myself, "What was the earliest time you remember feeling this way?" I traced it back to a volume of similar experiences – all decades ago. Then I used EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques or "tapping"), which is a simple, yet powerfully effective healing technique that involves tapping on the meridian points while holding emotionally stressful scenarios in mind. I tapped on the feelings I was experiencing in the present and tapped on the wounded versions of myself in the past.

By the time I was done, I felt substantially different. I no longer saw the email as something to be upset over, but as something to be grateful for. It was a wake-up call, a catalyst for growth. Because of it I was motivated to delve into my inner basement and clear out some old clutter I no longer have use for.

This is my path. It is not about expecting I will never be upset again, but rather about staying deeply present and curious when I do get triggered. We are always at choice point. When something shows up in your life, do you choose to unconsciously respond in the way you always have or make a choice to get to the roots behind the feelings, deeply process them, and show up differently? I choose the latter. In doing so, I know I not only heal old wounds, but clear the way for new and better things to show up!