H.B.M, part 2: One look is enough…

In my previous blog, an introduction to a new series about Hot Button Mastery, I listed all my hot buttons or points of sensitivity that represent a threat to my self worth, and which interfere with my desire to be the person I want to be in the world. I enthusiastically invited you to share your lists with me and be part of my neurotic community. I recognize today that talking about hot buttons is a very private and – by its very nature- vulnerable subject. Being part of a neurotic community isn’t that appealing either. I probably need to go slower and make it a little bit more attractive.

This week, I invite you to think about vehicles.

Take a recent situation in which you were triggered. Ask yourself what was the vehicle that led to your trigger moment. Was it a look? A tone of voice? An attitude? A movement? A smile? An email? A text? A conversation? A thought? A specific word? A missing word? Too many words? A silence? A sound? A criticism? A compliment?!

As you can see, anything can trigger an ego-threat in our hot button field and it doesn’t take that much.

For examples:

  • An abrupt acceleration of a driver on the road can trigger my hot button of being over-powered.
  • A repetitive sneeze from my husband –sign that he might get sick soon- can make me feel not taken care of.
  • Or, a random look from my daughter is enough to trigger my hot hot hot button of being a failure as a mother.


But as my daughter reminded me one morning recently when I was reacting to one of her looks: “It’s not all about you, Mom.”

The problem when we are triggered is that it’s ALL about US.

Because of the “mind chatter” that usually accompanies our trigger moments, it might not feel like it’s ALL about US. It might feel like it’s ALL about OTHERS, and how stupid or mean they are, but when we scratch the surface, it’s usually ALL about US and our SELF-WORTH preoccupations. No judgment. It’s not bad to be preoccupied with our self-worth. We will learn more about it later.

For the moment, we are still in the process of simply noticing.

Noticing – being present and aware in a non-judgmental way- is the first safe, simple, micro baby step toward self-transformation. That’s it. I hope you will enjoy this step!

A few questions to help you notice the extent of your hot button field:

1- What are your typical vehicles? (see questions above)

2- With whom do you tend to trigger yourself (family, spouse, partner, friends, colleagues, boss, neighbors, strangers, etc)?

3- About which topics (parenting, money, promotion, sexuality, negotiation, politics, housekeeping, physical appearance, intellectual capacity, physical strength, etc.)?

4- What are the favourable word?

5- What are the “common” situations that trigger your hot buttons? When? (in meetings, when you’re under deadlines, at night when you go home, during family reunions, vacations, etc.)?


  1. H.B.M, part 3: Exploring self-awareness… | Carole Lévy - May 19, 2015

    […] skimming over our hot button fields in my two previous posts, I’m inviting you today to dig deeper into the crucial area of self-awareness. Self-awareness is […]

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