If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Nothing outside of ourselves has power over us. Or at least, very little.
We always have the power to choose our response. We can choose how we act, think and feel. We might begin with automatic responses (not thinking about them first), but we can select again.
We have the power to treat each stressor as its own thing instead of bringing in past situations and building the narrative. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy in every case. People will wrong you. Outside influences do upset you. As an adult human, you’ve experienced a ton of disappointment (I hope). I’m not invalidating your pain or saying that it never happened and never will. Everyone needs adversity and pain in their life. It’s part of our ongoing human experience to mature and evolve and be functioning members of society.
The narratives we build, though, are powerful. Our self-written stories often don’t serve our best selves. In our heads, we are all storytellers. Protagonist: You. Antagonist: Also, you, but your tale might cast someone else in the role.
As Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
We can choose not to be a victim. We can decide that no one can make us feel a certain way, that “triggers” trigger what’s already there.
Actions trigger emotions that come from memories of past experiences, from our stories and our programming.
Let’s stop anticipating the pain. Let’s treat it as a lesson, lean into it, love it and release it.
Let’s choose to create a new response.
Triggers are an opportunity to identify and heal.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” You have the power to revoke the pain at any moment.
So say we all.
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