Avoidance is probably my most toxic trait. I genuinely thought the fewer triggers I encounter, the greater the odds of not having an “emotional relapse”. In my case, an emotional relapse entails an identity crisis, mood swings, or even sudden urges to evaporate or be swallowed by the earth.
Therefore, I deliberately surrounded myself only with people who shared my spiritual and relational values. So for a long time, I was mostly exposed to agreeable people and “fruit of the Spirit practitioners” with whom I had only pleasant interactions and never any major disagreements.
However, I recently have been in situations where I had to interact with people who didn’t necessarily share my spiritual and relational values. During my interactions with those people, I was shaken to my core, felt triggered, overwhelmed and depleted because I haven’t in fact truly healed.
The ” lesser version of me” of me came out. That ‘triggered version’ of me who is defensive, dismissive, impudent, and sometimes empathy. That version who retaliates instead of taking the higher road and extending compassion. That version who feels victimized instead of taking advantage of an opportunity to learn and grow. That version who quickly demonizes people instead of praying for them. I mean that girl that I hadn’t seen for nearly 10 years was now back.
As the relationships I cultivated in this past decade were mostly healthy and enriching, I thought that meant I was healed. But in fact, I was kinda masquerading avoidance for healing. As Vienna Pharaon so beautifully says it, “Avoiding your triggers isn’t healing. Healing happens when you are triggered and you’re able to move through the pain, the pattern, and the story – and walking your way to a different ending.” This is indeed one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this year. That recent experience made me realize that avoiding my demons doesn’t give me victory over them. The giants that we don’t face will continuously chase us.
I have been praying and asking the Holy Spirit to help me be still and keep it together, regardless of who pushes my button. And I have faith that in time, the Holy Spirit will help me grow in the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. One day, I will be able to stop avoiding my triggers and face all my demons, but that day isn’t today.