Triggers vs. Causes of Feelings in Communication
In this episode of Connected Curious Care, we take a closer look at whether our feelings are triggered or caused by a conversation, and why acknowledging this small difference gives us back control.
You've probably been there, you come home from work and the first thing you have to share is an encounter that did upset you. "He completely ignored me"; "She made me look totally stupid", "I felt so attacked", or maybe "It's all taken for granted and I feel taken advantage of".
In these examples, we describe the triggers of our emotional state. We're evaluating an interaction that another person may or may not have meant a certain way. We also need another person in order to express how we feel. Whenever we take such a perspective, we make others responsible for our feelings. We believe others cause our feelings.
The tricky thing about this perspective is that the power to change a situation also rests with another person and not with us. So, the next time you find yourself describing a feeling that involves another person, stop for a moment. Can you identify feelings underneath that come from inside of you? And what would matter so much to you that would explain your feelings?
For example, behind the feeling of being taken advantage of (trigger), I feel sad and disappointed because I really want to belong and be part of the team (cause). Or, behind feeling attacked (trigger), I feel insecure, because being recognized for high-quality work is so important to me (cause).