In life we’d all like to stay centered, meaning calm, rational in your thinking no matter what is happening in our lives. We’d like to think that despite the hoopla that’s happening around us, our reaction one of subdued emotion, or at least the appropriate response. If there’s an emergency, we react in a swift alert manner. If someone disagrees with us, we stop and listen, consider the argument being presented, and then respond with our thoughts. That’s what we’d like.

With certain people, however, our rational selves leave the building when said certain persons do anything contrary to what we’d like him or her to do. And sometimes they needn’t do anything to irk us past distraction. I’ve often wondered, what is it about some people that can trigger us and get us off-centered? What is it about him or her that can take us from 0 to 60 in about .2 seconds? It happens in multiple relationships:

  • Family
  • Work
  • Some “friend” circles
  • Strangers

There are certain people who cause a nuclear reaction when most others don’t in similar situations. We’ve all experienced being told the exact information from multiple sources, but we couldn’t hear it when “Meg” said it. We only saw red when she opened her big mouth. When “Mike” said it, it made sense. But why is this?

  • Past lives
  • A sense of familiarity, the person reminds you of someone
  • Racial/learned behavior
  • Certain roles, i.e., boss, superior, employee
  • Situational

There’s a lot of discussion about past life energies and soulmates, so have we really been here before? There’s something to meeting someone for the first time and having an immediate connection or even an irrational dislike for a person. I’ve experienced it firsthand—meeting someone and just knowing that we’d be (or were) arch enemies—there was something about him or her that just bugged me right off the bat. He could do no right and there was no logical explanation for it—I just didn’t like him on sight or at least, at first encounter. There was just somethin’ about “Johnny” that rubbed me the wrong way…his voice, his laugh, the way he slouched, his breathing—especially his breathing (if he could just stop…). Mind you, Johnny never disrespected me, said anything to offend or unwittingly usurped my authority, but I couldn’t STAND him. In a business meeting, he’d sigh, and it would set me off, he’d speak, and I’d only think about the ways I could cause him bodily harm. Perhaps we knew one another from a past life. He didn’t remind me of anyone, I’m not racist, he was my peer, and it wasn’t situational. I never resolved it. He left the company and I never saw him again. But I’ll always remember him.

Another thing we all do is call people by another name. I miscall my youngest sister and my daughter all the time. I’m not sure the energy there, it’s not negative, but just odd that I do this. ALL OF THE TIME. Clearly, there’s a familiarity between the two, and there must be an energy about “the baby” of the family, and my daughter being “my baby”, who knows, but if you do this, it’s always interesting to delve into the why of it. Especially if the persons throw you off center. Perhaps these people trigger certain emotions, or you find that they are similar in some way.

If you’re constantly thrown off-centered by anyone, the key is to remain calm and breathe through it, use active listening skills and maintain a healthy conversation:

  • Pay attention
  • Demonstrate that you are indeed listening with appropriate head movements/gestures
  • Provide feedback
  • Seek to understand, not judge
  • Respond appropriately

This will guide you through having a productive conversation with someone you may not see eye to eye with. The less you react to triggers and taunts, the quicker you diffuse the situation. Typically, the person trying to trigger you is looking for just that 0-60 response and when you don’t take the bait, he or she will likely back down. This is harder done than said, but it can be done.

Strangers that trigger you—it happens—is altogether different because you may never get to the bottom of it. I discuss “familiar strangers”, the phenomenon where you meet someone and you feel as if you’ve known them your whole life in a good way, in Trusting the Tingles, however, this is different. Nothing feels good about it. Having experienced both, I can honestly say, they are both a heightening sense of inexplicable emotions.

Some people label others and therefore, when they see someone of a certain class/race/gender/sexual orientation etc., they are immediately triggered and shut down all forms of communication. If you find yourself in this category, there is a great opportunity to first identify that you do this and why, and then use your new skills to better communicate with others. Let’s face it, there are people who trigger emotions, however, when we are aware that it’s happening, we can get ahead of it before things spiral out of control. We can find a better way to navigate tough, emotional encounters in a healthy way.

In this new environment, it is especially important to stay centered and calm.