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Allowing Myself to Be Triggered

Good Morning My Confidants

Someone yesterday posted something about how they live their life to get up every morning and to get angry with people on social media and to argue with them. They were being ironic. They weren't being serious. But oh, my goodness, already one or two people have triggered me this morning....

And then I remembered something VERY IMPORTANT.

Something I'm trying to keep remembering, especially when I'm not quite awake yet and I see an "offensive post," or somebody has jumped my ass for no reason that I can see in the moment....

This is what I remember.....

NO ONE has ANY power to "trigger" me that I haven't given them fully and with my full consent and blessings. (I might as well have)

And when I get "triggered," and do a mental hands-on-hips, and then raise one fist and yell at them, absolutely nothing is accomplished. When I yell, the other person has the fight or flight instinct kick in, and they aren't listening. Same way when someone yells at me when they are offended.

When I first heard the concept that I myself, Ben Thomas, CHOOSES to be offended, I laughed. In factLOL!I was offended!

"Are you telling me," I would ask, "that any person with two brain cells to rub together shouldn't be offended by this?!?!" (whatever it was that day and hour that offended me)

Yes. I am saying that.

Because when I see an "offensive" thing, my offense is my lizard brain reacting. A million years of survival instincts kick in, and I react. I react, not thinking that this meme was not a coiled rattlesnake. The meme was not a charging sabretooth tiger that I had to scream at, and plant myself firmly on the ground, brace myself, and hold out my spear. The meme was not threatening my life (not usually, or at least immanently). And when I say, "Oh yes it was!" in any shape form or manner, I am wrong. A meme is just a meme is just a meme is just a meme. A stupid comment that somebody has posted is just a stupid comment. And since I'm in no imminent danger, I can step back and think about it before I react.

I can assess the danger. I can take a sip of my coffee, look the situation over, glance at the poster's page to see if they are someone that regularly posts offensive things, and get the lay of the land. I can ask myself if I am in a vulnerable place right now and that's why I reacted? I was made to feel vulnerable?

Once I've taken a deep breath and figure the situation out, then I can take the best action. I can take that boiling energy, put some reigns on it, get control of the bucking bronco beneath me, and take the action that is going to serve me best.

Is the offender even worth my time? I'm living a life that has a lot to deal withgood and bad, easy and stressful, happy and sadand do I really need to address the issue at all? What is my goal for doing so if I do decide I need to address the situation? Is it just to piss on the foot of the person who I felt was pissing on mine?

Or is there a higher cause? Is there a higher love? What am I trying to do? Am I trying to change the world for the better, and therefore I'm addressing the person calmly so they may possibly listen to me? Or am I just spending tons and tons of energy getting riled up over something that is going to do nothing constructive for anyone, especially myself?

That's a lot of things to ask oneself (one's self?).

But it's the kind of questions that saves lives.

How many murders are crimes of passion? I'm not even sure how to Google that one, but I'll bet you that it is a gigantic percentage of deaths.

When I get "triggered," it's not about the other person. It's about me. It's about my issues. It's about my scars. It's about my pain. It's about memories of what has happened to me, especially when it was a time that I was vulnerable. It is not about the other person. And when I make it about the other person, I'm giving them my power even if I am rattling my shield and spear.

Because most of the time the other person is simply thinking to themselves (when I come charging in), "WTF?"

And maybe they're planting themselves firmly, bracing themselves, and holding up their spear to deal with the attack!

Deep breath......

In through the nostrils, out through the mouth.....


Again. Now that I am clearheaded, I can ask....

Is this situation worth my time? Is this a real issue, or is it a story that I made up? Do I really need to deal with this? Do I need to rattle and shake my shield and sphere? Can I instead just look for a cute reel about puppies? By addressing the situation, am I changing anything for the better? Am I helping myself, or my fellow human being? Was the meme phobic in some way and it is my life's mission to address the situation? If so, and that's cool, then is there a way that I can address it and perhaps make a change?

Those are all valid questions. And since I'm not out on the plains with a charging sabretooth tiger headed my way, I CAN take a deep breath, and I can ask myself all these questions before I act.

Do I just want to be pissed off? Or do I want to be the change I want in the world?

It's a lot to think about.

Because when does it become MY responsibility to take control of MY bucking bronco? I have checked my body this morning and I don't see any buttons or triggers anywhere on it. So how can anybody push a button or flick a trigger that I don't seem to have anywhere on me?

I have to take responsibility of my own feelings and my own reactions.

Does that mean that I should let the assholes out there not hear from me? Hell no! I've never said that. I'm a gay man that survived the AIDS crisis and watched my government not give a shit. It was only by screaming about it did they have to take action. You can believe me that I was in there shouting! Marching around City Hall. Signing all kinds of stuff. Calling my senator or congressman.

But most of the time these days when I'm triggered? It's because I have things that I need to work on. Because chances are if I address the "offender," they're not going to listen. They're not going to understand or give a shit (in fact I might be making them happy by reacting) and they're probably just going to flip me off. Which will only piss me off all the more.

So what good is done? None.

In the last couple of years, perhaps due to my request, when I post something that unintentionally was offensive, I am overjoyed when someone comes to me and calmly explains why what I was offensive or could be misconstrued as offensive, most of the time I take it down. If I have jumped on somebody, I tryI'm not always successful, this is a journey after allto apologize if I made an ass of myself.

I personally like to wake up a little bit more every single day. I am proudly woke.

And there you go. Sermon over. Sermon written primarily for myself and my reaction to a few things this morning. I feel so much better now. After taking a lot of deep breaths. I'm going to watch a video on YouTube by Barbara Waterhouse. She's mind-blowing. Incredible teacher. I'm going to warm up the rest of my coffee and enjoy it. I think I can actually open the door now and listen to the windchimes on the cardinals. I'm going to a friend's house today that I really love and should have a wonderful afternoon.

Life is good.

And so it is


BG "Gentle Ben" Thomas

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1 Comment

Mar 05

To each his own! Not everyone is the same.. thank god! Take it with a grain of salt..😁

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