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Tiny Wisdom: The Triggers That Lead to Pain

“The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming it.” -Helen Keller

There’s a child wailing five feet away from where I’m sitting in the Farmer’s Market at The Grove. This is my least favorite sound in the world, and I often tear up when I hear it.

While I realize children often cry for reasons that have nothing to do with danger, I associate hysterics with fear and powerlessness, and it makes me want to do something. Since I generally can’t, it manifests in my body as anxiety–a fight or flight response with no outlet.

I’ve had full-on panic attacks when confronted with a hysterical child. It’s an emotional trigger–and a strong one.

We all have these triggers, though some of us don’t have such overpowering reactions. Maybe you lost someone you love on a rainy day, so you feel angry when the clouds turn gray. Or maybe you sustained a serious injury at the beach, so the sound of the ocean makes you feel ill.

These associations can be limiting, and sometimes downright paralyzing. They can cause physical and mental sensations that are completely unrelated to our present circumstances. In short, they divorce us from the present and thrust us into a painful past.

There are times when we need professional help to fully release traumatic associations. But other times we only need a modicum of self-awareness and a willingness to breathe and let go.

The past is over. What happened, happened. Today is a new day, and freedom comes from seeing it with new eyes. It comes from recognizing what’s going on in our minds, and then choosing to release those thoughts and feelings. We all deserve to feel peaceful, but no one else can do it for us.

Today if you get lost in a trigger that thrusts you to a painful event, take a deep breath and remember: we can’t change that we’ve hurt before, be we can choose not to suffer now.

Photo by ZeePack

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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