I seem to have been getting triggered a lot lately. Luckily, I have come to learn that these things are opportunities for self-improvement and to practice being present. The biggest reminder of all is that if someone really pisses me off or upsets me it is because they are mirroring something I dislike about myself. This is definitely the case with a couple of recent extremely brief interactions.
The first one happened while I was driving down the road last week. A man in another car was making a left turn in front of me at the stop sign. It was very brief but the way he looked at me and the energy I felt from him really pissed a part of me off.
On the surface there was no reason for me to be upset he just looked and smiled. But for me it was the lack of acknowledgement even though he looked right at me. It was a feeling of “You are not worth my time and I am in my own little happy world”.
My anger further increased while I was stuck behind him and his nonchalant driving under the speed limit. I was strongly impulsed to blast past him in anger but I knew I was triggered and so I just kept driving normally. Besides, he wasn’t really driving all that slow especially for how laid back people can be on the island but as I was stuck behind him I could feel my anger still growing.
I was finally able to relax while focused on my breath and letting all the angry thoughts go. These thoughts created quite a story like, “Look at this guy all happy and not even paying attention to anything just living in his own little reality of perfection”. I caught these thoughts and knew this wasn’t really true but it is what was running through my head and had to be released.
Letting go is my needed discipline to be in control of myself and my actions. To make the choice in every moment of what I am doing with what comes up inside of me. These thoughts may be in my head but they do not need to be mine and they certainly don’t need to be indulged creating emotion (energy) or manifested into an action (force).
The second trigger happened later that same day. I am waiting for a parking spot only to have it taken by some guy that drives in the wrong way and totally snakes it from me. I remember even looking at the guy and saying “You totally snaked me” as I drove by choosing to just leave the situation. I let the impulse and thoughts overwhelm me briefly that time before I could catch it. I felt like I handled well as I was pretty hot and wanted to take it much further but I realized later I still could have handled it better.
What these two incidents have in common is a pattern I have that I was not fully aware of until recently. It is one of not fully acknowledging people because I am uncomfortable. The guy that took my spot didn’t see me waiting for it and I could have simply drove up and said something in a calm way. Because this is Hawaii there is a good chance he might have apologized and moved (It was the last spot in the loading zone for home depot and I was buying a bunch of wood). Instead I went into a victim type pattern and never allowed time for a more authentic interaction to occur. I simply went right into I was wronged and have a right to be pissed off and get upset before even making sure this guy knew I was there.
This justified victim mentality can lead to being a victimizer and is the energy that is so prevalent in the world right now.
I realized that I had put on that same attitude/energy that I had felt from the guy I was stuck behind. I was not acknowledging others in a calm and present way. It was if they didn’t exist to me and was blowing them off so I would be more comfortable in my avoidance. It was like a desire to be separate from them and not share the same space. This is impossible and can be felt by others. They may not know what it is but most will feel it.
For me the reason for this lack of fully acknowledging people I look at is because of some fear. I still often feel the need to protect myself and so I use all these conscious and unconscious techniques to do that. Like a superficial smile and brief eye contact.
The truth is I do not need to act like this. I am safe and by acting as if I am not or like a victim I can actually invite hostilities or at the very least superficial interactions which are not appreciated in a very amazing place like the Big Island of Hawaii. People actually look at each other here and smile even if they don’t know you. It is very rude not to acknowledge each other here. This is very different from where I grew up. I tell some locals this and they are amazed that many strangers would get upset with you if you smile at them or if you try to help them.
For me to simply put on a smile and not really look at people is something I could get away with on the mainland but here I see now that more is required. Perhaps it is the result of my intention to live life with an open and loving heart. The Universe always provides these kinds of opportunities in meeting my desire to be better.
So the work for me continues in healing my need to cover my own ass and keep people at a distance but I am grateful for my mirrors that help me see where I can improve and be a more open and loving human being.
May you remember to see the mirror,