The Angels Dressed As A**holes Paradigm
Do you easily get triggered? Can you think of that one (or multiple, let's be honest) person that annoys you and pushes your button?
Let it be someone at work, a coworker for example. A family member. A friend. Or even someone on social media such as a coach or a person you follow.
Being triggered ignites something within you. It takes you out of your body. All of a sudden the sweet person you usually are transform into a whole other (sometimes nasty) version of yourself.
Last week, I found myself in that exact position. Being stuck in Belgium due to the travel restriction and with an urge to get out of the country, I felt very frustrated but also very triggered.
My sister and a coach I like were both in Mexico and while they were enjoying their lives, I was starting to build unconscious resentment. As I was watching one Instagram Live from that coach in Mexico, her internet suddenly dropped as the connection in Mexico wasn't great. I saw myself suddenly being on edge and reacting with frustration: "how could they be having live coaching with a bad connection, it's so unprofessional".
After being triggered multiple times, feeling myself on edge, I finally broke down crying.
I realized I wanted to be where they were, traveling. The worst is that I was even supposed to be in Mexico for a wedding at that exact time but it got postponed and with that my whole travel plan.
My being triggered said more about me than it said anything about them.
As François Lemay says, these exact persons who trigger you aren't bad in your life. They are actually Angels dressed as A**holes. They are angels because they help you understand something that is happening inside you. They are the light that helps you see the real reason why you are upset. They give you the opportunity to see where you have room to grow further, to become the next version of yourself.
🗝 Whenever you feel triggered, it is always interesting to pause and reflect. Bring it back to yourself and ask yourself:
Why am I reacting this way to this person's behaviors? What is it saying ABOUT ME?
Be careful while answering this question to not make it about them. This exercise is only supposed to shed light on your own situation.
Someone pushes your buttons... because there are buttons to be pushed on in the first place.
So how to deal with Angels dressed as A**holes?
1. Remove them from your direct environment
Protecting yourself from being triggered is one way to do it. You remove the trigger to create a more serene and peaceful environment for yourself. In my case, it would be to stop watching Instagram stories of people in Mexico for example.
The thing though is that by doing that you are missing a great opportunity to learn something about yourself. If I hadn't dug deeper into this issue, I wouldn't have realized that the reason why I didn't go was that my boyfriend didn't want to go anymore and that I wasn't allowing myself to go on a solo trip while I was in a relationship.
I have been traveling solo in the past. But I had never realized that I had this preconditioning belief that when in a relationship you are supposed to travel with your partner. This belief doesn't come from my boyfriend. He actually reassured me that even though he couldn't travel at the moment, he was supportive of me going on a trip. This belief actually came from me based on my ex-boyfriend's reactions and some of my dad's comments when I was younger.
BAM! I had no idea I had this belief deep inside me. If I had kept being annoyed by people leaving and going on trips without digging deeper or if I had simply removed these persons from my social media, I would have increased my level of frustration and missed on a great opportunity to grow and heal past traumas.
2. Keep them close
At some point, you reach a level when you don't simply remove them. You actually see the situation as a game. You decide to stay closer to these people. Why? Because they make you grow. They help you see things inside of you that you hadn't paid attention to. Areas of shadows you hadn't looked into.
Then by working on yourself and growing, these people gradually stop bothering you all together. They don't push your buttons because there are no more buttons to be pushed.
Make sure to do this exercise with kindness and compassion. This isn't easy neither for you nor for them. Remember that the person triggering you is a human being doing their best. Most of the time, people's intentions are good.
Now, this doesn't mean you have to be friends with everyone and keep everyone close by. Understanding when you are being triggered is a good thing and offers a great opportunity to grow but that doesn't mean you have to challenge yourself every day either. Set yourself up for a peaceful day. No need to go check that person's story every 5 minutes; If you feel like you need a break from them, take it!
Get your personal power back
Why I love this exercise and seeing people who trigger me as Angels dressed as A**holes?
Because it helps me get my personal power back!
It shows great strength to be able to let go of the frustration that one person may bring and to look back to us. To use this situation to grow. And to decide for ourselves if we will keep being triggered or not. That means we have the power to choose to feel at peace or annoyed and it doesn't depend on other people anymore.
If it is very difficult for the ego to let go, it is also very powerful for your personal growth. Which one will you choose?
Now, this of course doesn't happen overnight. Play with it and hold space to understand what the situation is telling you.
If you want to learn more, watch the recording of the Instagram Live "Asking for A Friend" that talks just about that!
And remember... Luck is an attitude!
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