Before delivering crucial material about mastering our hot buttons, I’d like to recap the critical steps we covered together so far (you can skip this part and go directly to paragraph III, but I warn you that you will miss some witty new insights):
In part 1, I described how hot buttons are like mine fields, except that mine fields are useless whereas hot buttons can serve a vital purpose. I didn’t hesitate to disclose my long laundry list of neurotic thoughts under three separate categories: 1- hot buttons about intrinsic worth, 2- hot buttons about competency, 3- hot buttons about how others treat us.
In part 2, I spoke about the “vehicles” that convey our hot buttons as in- a nasty look from my daughter – and made the point that when we are triggered, it becomes highly personal – all about US! So it is senseless to tell somebody who is triggered: “Don’t take it personally”!
In part 3, I presented two big categories of reactive types: the over-reactor/boiled-milk type (like me) and the under-reactor/curdle-milk-type (like my husband, but at the time, I didn’t say it was him).
In part 4, I highlighted the importance of recognizing the negative consequences of our unproductive reactions that I illustrated with three unforgivable metaphors. Do you remember what they were? I don’t.
In part 5, I concluded my section on Self-Awareness with a quiz to assess if your time management system supports your self-awareness. I admitted later that it is more comfortable for me to contemplate self-awareness endlessly then to move toward transformation. However, I finally forced myself to move on to step II: Choosing.
In part 6, I presented the simple yet challenging second step toward mastering our hot buttons: choosing the tunnel with or without cheese, exemplifying the fact that we, human beings, tend to be less smart than rats, repeatedly choosing the tunnel without cheese. Rats quickly learn to go for the cheese!
In part 7, I elaborated on the notion of choosing the right path, and posted a scary cartoon of me wallowing in guilt (instead of choosing the tunnel with cheese). I gave you three tips and one caveat. I wished you a good summer and left you with five homework assignments. Did you do them? Probably not. Neither did I, since I was on vacation.
But now we have the opportunity to engage in the most important step of this series:
Just in case you didn’t get it, let me recap my summary, in other words, summarize my recap:
Step I: You learned to identify when you’re triggered.
Step II: You learned to recognize that being triggered is not what you want.
Step III: You will learn to leverage your trigger points, seeing them as an opportunity to learn about yourself and others, be more connected, and heal old wounds. You will learn to turn dirt into gold! That’s transformation. That’s what I’m talking about!
However, the leap between part II and part III is GIGANTIC. A lot of us don’t make it across and get stuck in part II, never fully actualizing transformation. And the reason is that we forget something essential: Transformation is a process and rarely an event! By its very nature, a process requires time, patience, discipline and practice. And for us – western people from the XXI century who seek instant results with no pain and no failure, being in a learning process is excruciating.
Next time we will talk about what neuroscience has to tell us about transforming hot buttons. Stay tuned and hopeful! And patient!