Do you struggle with something that triggers or overwhelms you that seems to keep showing up? I believe this is not just bad luck but that life keeps giving you opportunities to grow through it. As you assess your triggers, you will start to see most situations are unavoidable. You can either grow through them or continue to be emotionally affected.
I had some massive opportunities to grow through triggers on my recent New York vacation with my kids. The day we left I published some wisdom on being patient. This had been a challenge for me most of my life. I was always in a hurry and anxious about what was coming next. My impatience stole any joy from the present moment. Reading my own story in overcoming this on the day I was leaving helped me set my intentions for the trip. No matter what, I was there to enjoy my time with my kids and I wanted to minimize frustration.
Straight out of the gate, life began testing me. We ordered food that generally in an airport food court is fast but it took 45 minutes. We literally had one minute to board the plane. As I requested updates from the vendor I could see how frazzled the staff was with their kitchen. They were clearly short-staffed. Rather than lose my cool, I just clearly communicated the last possible time I needed it by to make my flight. Although we got our food, the manager gave us a full refund. When I sat down on the plane I celebrated that I had tried to calm the staff down, stayed patient, and got a free dinner!
The flight to Phoenix would change my perspective forever. About 25 minutes before landing, the captain asked for any medically trained passengers to push their call button. A man had gone unconscious in the bathroom. We could see them trying to do CPR and use a defibrillator on him. As we landed, they announced that we would need to wait for him to be moved. I prayed the entire time. I was not worried about our connecting flight. A few passengers around us were. They were completely insensitive to this man and whether he would live or die. One woman was completely agitated and only thinking of herself. My daughter and I watched as her self-centered impatience created a spectacle. After twenty minutes the captain let us off the plane, but it was clear the man hadn’t made it. My kids and me were sad and felt bad the man died alone. I prayed for his family and also the people so self-absorbed they lost all compassion. I celebrated how far my journey had taken me and again set even deeper intentions to enjoy the moment.
The rest of the trip brought a ton of opportunity to remain patient and grateful from long lines at Ellis Island to an asshole bus driver who yelled at me because he didn’t realize the headset had music on and not the tour. I had gotten out of my seat because we didn’t know what stop to get off at and he didn’t understand why I had gotten out of my seat. I simply decided rather than to explain that I would avoid the trigger and get off on at the next stop. We threw $150 away on the bus tour because of how I was treated and ended up admiring the Statue of Liberty from afar.
I only grew impatient a few times and in turn grew snappy with my kids, but it was a huge improvement from days past when those kind of incidents would have sent me into a tirade. I came away with more purpose in trying to help others change their lenses. I could have easily been in a bad mood because of lines, flight delays, rude people, or my son being the longest shower taker in the world. Instead, I chose to breathe and really enjoy each moment this trip brought me. I am so grateful that my patience has grown and also my self-compassion that I am not perfect. Instead of beating myself for becoming triggered, I am humbled by my humanness. I urge you today to see everything as a test and an opportunity to become more present and grateful. It will truly change your life.