Yesterday I was triggered. I had a client who gave me ‘advice’ about my son. We were making conversation about him and I mentioned that the night before he had been tossing and turning, not really asleep or awake, but definitely keeping me up. She proceeded to tell me to ‘be careful about letting him sleep in the bed, those habits will be hard to break…’ To say I was pissed was an understatement. It wasn’t the time or the place to get into it, so I just left it with ‘every family does what’s best for them’ and changed the conversation. But inside I was fuming. How dare she?!?
This is not a conversation about why sharing a bed with your child is good or bad. You do you, mama. I’m not here to lay judgement on you for the way you raise your kiddos. And looking back on the conversation that I had with this lady, she wasn’t either. But her comment was misguided. Giving out unsolicited parenting advice is similar to a stranger stopping you mid workout to tell you that you’re exhaling your fat cells (true story, it just happened to a friend of mine!). There really is no good time for any unsolicited advice on anything.
But let’s get back to the trigger. A comment like that would only make me mad for one reason. I wasn’t completely confident in our decision. It’s easy to blame the other person for making you mad, or upset. But, nobody can make you feel a certain way. You allow yourself to feel that way. Whether it be loved, angry, happy, sad, or anywhere in between, you are in charge of each one of those feelings. It may not seem like it at the time, but you are. So, instead of continuing to be mad about a comment that somebody made, I’m choosing to look at why I was triggered. What does it say about me? How can I look at the situation differently and learn something from it?
First, I can look at why I’m feeling insecure about our parenting decisions. I know that not everyone is going to agree with us, but what others think is none of my business. Second, how can I handle a similar situation differently. Instead of feeling defensive, can I approach the conversation with more grace and impart my reasons why to possibly help that other person learn something new? Possibly, but helping them learn is something that you might not be able to do. But, again what others think is none of your business.
In the end, when you feel triggered by someone or something, the best thing that you can do is take a moment and look back on the situation to learn and grow from it. Attaching blame, getting upset or letting it fester within isn’t productive. Seek to learn from the encounter, and grow from it so when it happens next time (because it’s definitely happening again!) you can walk away from the situation feeling confident in how you’re living your life!