OK, so why do your buttons get pushed?
Here’s a reason to consider: perhaps it’s simply because they’re there! You see, if those buttons were not there – inside you – then what happened wouldn’t affect you like it did. You wouldn’t be feeling that emotional charge – it would bounce off you like the proverbial water off a duck’s back.
The holy Baal Shem Tov wisely taught that every single thing you experience is Divinely orchestrated for your benefit, and that you have something valuable to learn from it. If you can understand that those negative triggers that happen in your life are offering you valuable information about yourself, then life takes on a new, more optimistic meaning. Those disdainful ‘trigger’ events become welcome Divine gifts that empower you to change and grow.
“OK,” you ask, “so what can I learn from my negative feelings?”
Here’s a practical exercise for you to do when your buttons have been pushed and you’re sitting with that negative feeling. Sit down with pen and paper, take some breath, and listen in carefully to whatever your mind is telling you in connection with that feeling. Write every one of these thoughts down in a list. When the list is complete look at it. Be really objective. Chances are that most of the thoughts you wrote down are negative. It is these thoughts that are the cause of your negative emotions. It’s not the event, nor is it the other person’s behaviour that makes you feel hurt, angry, miserable, upset, irritated, disgusted. Rather, it’s your own negative thoughts about it.
Now look at them carefully – these negative thoughts often take the form of expectations or demands about how we or other people should be, plus critical judgements about them if they are not so. Moreover, if you’re honest about it, you might admit that these negative thoughts are worth challenging – chances are they’re not even true. but unconsciously you allow yourself to dwell on them and hold on to them as if they were true.
It's all part of our human condition. Ultimately such recurring negative thoughts and feelings can be traced back to core beliefs that are embedded in our subconscious minds – and they probably got there when we were very little. These core beliefs will continue to affect everything in your experience until you take responsibility to notice them and do what it takes to uproot them.
Experiential methodologies such as More to Life, or The Work of Byron Katie can be extremely effective and can empower you to become more adept at this self-awareness practice. Some people find it valuable to get the support of a personal coach or therapist who works with these dynamics. You begin to see these negative thoughts for the false beliefs they are and it becomes easier to let go of them. This practice enables you to keep taking a stand on what’s really true about yourself, about others and about life. And you’ll naturally find yourself supporting others to do the same.
This is a pathway to clarity, healthy self-esteem and genuine happiness.
Oh, and it’s also the pathway to a better world.