When paying attention to triggers, it is helpful to remember the adage:
“When you point a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”
On the simplest level, this adage illustrates the dynamics of finger pointing; in order to point a finger, most will extend one finger forward, while placing the remaining fingers against the palm of the hand.
When one shifts the focus, however, from the extended pointing finger to the three fingers near the palm of the hand, it is easy to see that these fingers point back towards the person doing the pointing.
Extending this analogy further, this simple action indicates that what we see in others, we also have within ourselves. I will touch back on this point in a moment.
In the past, I used to get angry and defensive when this concept was pointed out to me. Another phrase that conveys the same idea is if you spot it, you’ve got it. I think the root of the defensiveness and anger was my inability to understand or perceive myself as the person I harshly judged/found undesirable/couldn’t stand/thought was dumb, etc.
The truth of the matter is that recognizing how you are or how you may have been is like shining a flashlight on the monster under the bed. Once you acknowledge its existence and give it attention, you may find it’s not a monster at all, but a gem you misplaced or forgot about. Recognizing bridges the gap that places you on a high horse and the perceived offender below you; it brings you to the same level so you can shift your perception of things. ‘Undesirable’ traits become more human, empathy grows and not only will you be able to understand others, but you will transmute and heal your shadow (triggers) by responding more often than reacting.
The opposite is also true for the fingers pointing back at you, when you notice something beautiful in another human being and you point that beauty out to them or show them appreciation. Notice also, those fingers pointing back at you again in that case. You too are beautiful and appreciated. You too bring value and greatness to the world in your unique way.
Daily, take time to notice and reflect, if only briefly, on these things. How often are you pointing fingers? Have you looked in the mirror to see what this reflects about you?
~ NOSCE TE IPSUM ~