I had been less than pleased with my yelling frequency lately so I had been pushing myself to figure out what was triggering me so much that I was unable to do what I know I needed to do (and could do) to stay calm in the tough moments.
I knew it wasn’t just because the kids weren’t listening (I mean sure, that is a trigger and is way annoying, but I knew it wasn’t just that.)
I knew it wasn’t because I was physically tired (I actually sleep now; game changer by the way.)
I knew it wasn’t because I wasn’t exercising or eating crappy foods. (I actually exercise now and eat crappy foods…less J)
I knew it wasn’t because of more obvious, “simple” and easy to manage triggers because I was struggling more than usual to keep it together.
I kept asking myself, “but why, why, why?” to dig deeper but all my digging led me to…nothing. No real, deeper answer. This gnawed and gnawed away at me, which for the record, didn’t help with the whole yelling less bit! My not knowing was a complete distraction (trigger); my not knowing made me personally cranky (trigger); and my not knowing made me mentally exhausted (trigger) because my brain was working over time looking for an answer.
Yeah, figuring out triggers can be a real pain the arse. But one beautiful fall day, it all became clear. (Cheezy, I know. But, the cheeziness is important. Stay with me.) I was out walking my puppy on a perfect fall day. The air was crisp. The leaves crunched beneath my feet. The sun shone brightly. There was not a car on the road; not a person walking near by jabbering. It was quiet. It was relaxing. It was peaceful.
I was just walking along, talking to no one, not listening to music, not doing a mental to-do list, when out of nowhere, clarity hit. (I read recently that boredom is important for the brain because it allows the mind to wander and be creative and problem solve – or something like that. I guess the article was right because my bored, at peace, brain problem solved the heck out of what my real big trigger was!)
I hadn’t set out on the walk intent to figure out this darn trigger. I just set out to get some steps in, some relaxation in (to prepare me to not yell when the kids barged in the door hours later), and some puppy potty-training in. So, it shocked the heck out of me when, bam, out of nowhere, my big trigger, that has been subconsciously bothering me for months, popped into my head, clear as the blue sky.
And that’s when my peaceful day turned dark.
When I realized what was really driving my yelling, the tears didn’t just fall. They poured. I got our puppy into the house (because god forbid any of my neighbors see me in my state!) and sat at the kitchen table with my head in my hands and bawled.
I pounded the table with my fists a few times too.
I asked why to the air, as if I would get an answer.
And then…and then…I finally breathed.
After all of my sobbing, I found myself exhaling.
My grey day turned peaceful again, and I felt like I had just taken a deep breath of that fresh, crisp, fall air that had only minutes ago made me feel so relaxed.
It wasn’t because I literally took a deep breath (you all know I hate taking actually deep breaths to relax!) it was because it physically felt so freakin’ good letting go and releasing so much built up pain, sadness and anger. Of course, my anger and pain didn’t go away, but the stress of holding it all in, did. I actually felt a sense of relief because I finally had crystal clear awareness of one of the big triggers that had been causing me to yell.
Yelling more than one likes, sucks.
Trying to figure out why one is yelling can also suck.
It isn’t always instant.
It isn’t always pretty.
It isn’t always the answer you want.
And, there isn’t always an easy way to manage the trigger.
But it always, always, is ultimately for the better.
Figuring out my big trigger took months. It took persistently, yet patiently, pushing myself really hard to look at my actions and challenge myself to figure out what the heck was going on with me, because I knew it was an instance of “it’s not you, it’s me.” The answer wasn’t pretty. My big trigger? I am a lot angrier about some things in my life than I thought. Like real, true, anger. I didn’t expect the answer. I certainly didn’t want it; I don’t want to be an angry person! And the things I am angry about? I can’t change them, I can only change how I accept them and that means a lot of personal work, and ugh, who wants to add that to the to-do list?
But, knowing that I finally have a source of why I am struggling so much gives me hope that I can now more easily get back to a place of yelling less because I know what I am dealing with.
And that, that is way better for myself and for my boys.
(I know I continue to be vague about some stuff; but I need to be so thank you for understanding! )