Evolutionary Blog

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Becoming Your Own Guru | What Triggers are and How to Best Relate to Them

triggered

This is another excerpt from the forthcoming book #EvolutionaryRelationships from the section titled #RelationshipContinuum

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Given all this talk of responsibility and blame, how do we best relate to triggers?  What are they? How do they occur?

Triggers are most often referring to feelings of hurt or anger.  What I mean when I say “trigger” is that you lose the balance of your mind or that you “lose facility with self” in a disproportionate way.

Some people call it “going into red”. Some refer to it as a “trauma response”. Some refer to it as “pissing you off”, or what have you. There can be many names for it, but I think the disproportionate nature of it - where you say things you have to apologize for or simply can’t communicate responsibly - or simply yell or lash out or hurt the other person physically or verbally - is symptomatic of being “triggered”.

We usually speak about them in a relationship as if the other person is somehow to blame for our lack of emotional facility or rationality.  “They triggered me” or “they made me angry” or my personal favorite “you made me worry” we can be heard saying.

Yes. That’s right:  they put a gun to your head and made you fantasize horrible things may have happened to them./ When really all that was happening was their cell phone battery died. Or they fell asleep. But they made you worry.

What is the problem with this? 

Not only does this give our power away, but it also makes other people responsible for our feelings, which is simply not the case.

They did not trigger us - it is not their behavior that is the problem:  it is our relationship to what they did that is the problem. Or it is how we interpreted it - what we made up or made it mean - that produced the emotional response in us. We got triggered.  Or it triggered something from our past. More often than not, something that happened triggered off something from our past - or a series of events from our past - hence the disproportionate nature of the trigger. 

We’ve all experienced this in the micro. If your lover keeps leaving dirty underwear on the counter or leaves the empty toilet paper roll on the dispenser without replacing it … and it happens over and over again - you may have a disproportionate response to that and blow up at them about that or about something else. 

This is good news; something from our past that is unresolved or in need of resolution has presented itself.

This is a gift if we relate to it as such.

My partner does not trigger me. I get triggered. Or something from my past was triggered.

If I relate to it like they triggered me AND I wait for them to come in after me and “make it right” I am not only playing a victim, I am making them responsible for my trigger and my happiness. Even worse: they now have all the power over my current emotional state: and I gave it to them by blaming them.

There are also some who use this as a control dynamic/power play; withholding love or connection until you “make it right” when in fact you broke no agreements. But they hold you hostage - or perhaps you have done this yourself to someone to feel special or … extract your pound of flesh.

This is not the exercise of power - it is the use of emotional force. True power comes from developing your facility with self; learning to navigate your interiors - so that you can have ease, flow, and happiness in your life - and a funny thing happens when you do: people enjoy being around you more when you manage your own internal experience - because you are giving them the freedom to be themselves.

They will thank you for being gracious. They will thank you for being understanding. But mostly, they will continue to be more and more self-expressed as you will have clean relating absent of any shame or irresponsibly expressed anger. They won't feel blamed simply for being themselves.

Here is where I give you two new tools - practices really - one for resolving shame, hopelessness and other “emotional atmospheres” as I like to call them, and one for dissolving anger while simultaneously building empathy and compassion.

If you master these simple practices, you will enjoy lasting and increased levels of joy, happiness, and ease, where you used to beat yourself up, get frustrated or angry - or blamed others for things and felt powerless.

You will become equanimous.

This will give you true power, but it is absent of any force.

One of my favorite translations of the word "guru" is "one who is solid in themselves" - so they can not be blown over by external events.

I have no interest in being your guru. But I am heavily invested in helping you become your own guru.

These tools will speed you on that path.

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This is another excerpt from the forthcoming book #EvolutionaryRelationships from the section titled #RelationshipContinuum

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Copyright

© Jason D McClain

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The Importance of Taking Time To Heal After A Breakup

breakupo-grief The importance of taking time to heal after a breakup by Jason McClain

The most cringe-worthy statements I've heard on how to handle breakup grief:

From a woman: "The best way to get over a man is to get under another one."  From a man: "Just drown yourself in p*ssy until you forget her."

There are so many things off with this I am not even sure where to begin, but I will start with the fact that it will not help you get over them at all. It may numb the pain - it may anesthetize you - but so much of the gift and benefits in facing the pain will be lost.

It is important to grieve and give yourself time to heal. 

After each relationship, I recommend taking at least 6 months and stay single and celibate during that time. In the last 15 years, I have had periods of being single and celibate that were 14 months, 18 months, 22 months, and 7 months. None of them started out as intentional - other than knowing I needed to take time - and the duration was undetermined when those periods began, but there are several solid reasons for this.

Reasons To Take Time After A Breakup

1. You are not truly fit and ready for healthy romantic love until you are fundamentally okay being alone; you have to love yourself before you can love another

2. So you do not repeat the same patterns and mistakes.  Have you ever wondered why you date a person with the same problems or had the same kind of conflicts in each of your relationships?  Almost like the movie Groundhog Day? You can avoid that by taking the time to do some conscious and intentional work to resolve those patterns and triggers and gaining the benefit of new and more subtle intricacies and patterns.

3. Learn what you need to learn from the previous relationship. 

a. What was your part in the breakdowns and conflicts? What could you do differently to have a more loving, easeful, fulfilling experience

b. Which areas do you need to heal from your more distant past that impacted that relationship - the stuff that predated that relationship but were uncovered by the level of intimacy you shared?

c. What triggers arise that need to be cleared or healed?

4. Uplevel your next partner and next level of relating

a. What did you love about the love or lover that you want again in the future? 
b. What are the qualities and characteristics you want in your next lover that they shared?  
c. What new and additional qualities or characteristics do you want or need in addition?
d. What did you miss or skip over that you need to make sure has attention in the future?

5. So you can be more open, more present, and ready to love fully - rather than guarded, closed down, still hurt and scared to love again. So you are ready to love more fully, deeper, and more completely than you have before.


What’s next is always better if you make sure you are better.

What’s next will always be better because you will make sure you are better.

If you avoid these important steps, you will - at best -  be engaged in spiritual and emotional bypass and at worst you will engage in transference - or worse still, just stuff it all down never to be addressed and it will fester and turn into even worse pathology down the road, negatively impacting your emotional and even physical health, and negatively impacting your loved ones around you and certainly your next relationships and you will end up being destined to repeat the same mistakes. 

Or you will simply shut down more and more and become less and less open and less and less present and therefore, less capable of true love and true intimacy.

Let’s avoid that.

Become intimate with yourself by taking time to heal and grow so you can be ready for an even deeper love that could be right around the next corner or in the next coffee shop once you are ready and open to the possibility.

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The example from my own life that is most poignant here, was in early 2017 when I met the most recent love of my life.  I had been in love before, but never like this. A paragraph I was so smitten with her that I would drop things when I was around her. I would cut myself shaving if she stayed the night - something I had not done in a decade.

I was overwhelmed with my love for her and my attraction to her.

It will be useful for you to know a little bit about me and my relationship to convention and obligatory holidays - while being a romantic: I would often give her roses - always two dozen. Usually weekly or biweekly. And always hand-arranged by me. I wrote her poetry. I would make sure that I not only demonstrated but also verbally expressed my love and appreciation of and for her on a daily basis. 

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From Conflict to Connection

fight-fuck From conflict to Connection

This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book #EvolutionaryRelationships:

From Conflict to Connection

If you are fighting, you should probably be fucking.

If you are a man in a hetero-normative relationship here is an inside tip: if you find yourself say “WTF?” because your woman is picking strange fights over little things, she’s not well-fucked. She may not even be aware that the static and tension in her body is her need to run sexual energy - and it needs to be about her pleasure, not yours.

The more feminine she is on the spectrum - from masculine to feminine - the more accurate this will be.

First, context is important as is the sequence. And there are a few dos and don’ts.

If you find yourself in conflict over something you consider silly - like you keep dropping your dirty underwear or socks wherever you please - the worst thing you can do is say: “you just need a good fucking” as a retort. This will lead to a bigger fight. Don’t be an asshole and … be an adult: pick up your own socks. Put your dirty underwear in the washer or the hamper or wherever it is you need to.

Pick up after yourself.

Don’t expect her to take care of you in any way - in fact, leave everything a little cleaner than you found it in the kitchen and the bathroom. She will be grateful and she should not have to pick up after you.

The healthiest relating is one where two autonomous yet complementary adults come together to create more than two.

Relationships are a quantum affair; 1+1 does not equal 2. It either equals less than 2 (conflict) or it equals more than 2 (synergy). And the degree of turnon and sexual desire in the relationship is a good sign of the degree of health and vitality in the relating.

Think about it: it is the unstated, the secrets, the unexpressed, and the built-up negative patterns and residue that get in the way of your desire for each other. This is why when you get all that stuff out of the way, connection and desire are restored or return to your dynamic.

But, let’s take the socks.

Pick them up. Take responsibility. Thank her for expressing her frustrations - this will encourage her to tell you the truth more. Ask her if there is anything else that she is frustrated with that you do.

Listen.

Hear the feedback and get it handled.

Then wait a bit.

Maybe 10 minutes. Maybe 10 hours. Depending on your dynamics. Then put some attention on her. Acknowledge how beautiful (or courageous or brilliant or … how much she excites you because of the way she embodies her femininity … something you authentically appreciate about her).

Whatever your way in, make love to her in a way that shows your enthusiasm for her, your desire for her, and focus on her pleasure first. Believe me, if you are focused on her pleasure, she will be more hungry and grateful for you than you could ever hope - and this is doubly true if you are good at playing her body like the heavenly instrument that it is.

As we have already talked about, getting good at sex - which takes communication, knowledge of physiology, and shame-free space, curiosity, and openness to explore the other’s body and desires - is critical for the long-term health and vitality of your relating, and as stated above, desire is a good barometer of the health and vitality - and the amount of truth being told and the amount of intimacy and safety - in a relationship.

AND … if you are a man in a hetero-normative relationship, sometimes your woman needs to get fucked until her eyes cross.

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Vulnerability and Sharing "Vulnerable" Things in Intimate Relationships

vulnerabilit_20200302-040325_1 Vulnerability | Evolutionary Relationships

The most recent “Love of My Life” helped me see and understand something I was unaware of.

She would share something about her inner life with me and I would listen attentively, and when she was finished I would thank her for sharing it. I love understanding my lover at a deeper level so any time they share their experience I am definitely interested. On several occasions though, she would pause when finished, put a hand to my forearm and say, “that was really vulnerable for me to share”.

“Oh!” I would say. “Ok”. 

The reality is I have never really understood or agreed with the conversation around vulnerability in intimate conversations.  I understand it now.

But often, I will share something, and the person (usually the woman) I am sharing it with will acknowledge how vulnerable it was for me to share. Except it wasn’t. Why?  And, why not?

Let’s examine this together: 

If you feel something is “vulnerable to share” that means you are psychologically and emotionally exposing your underbelly to someone when you share it. Like when a cat reveals their tummy to you - and as a natural predator, they know they can be gutted so this is a sign of safety and trust. - Following the metaphor when someone shares something vulnerable for them it means they either feel safe enough with you, mustered enough courage to share it, were able to set aside their fears for long enough, or “white-knuckled it” though their fears to share it in spite of the fact that they are emotionally very sensitive about the matter and your response has the power to devastate them emotionally.

It also means they are dependent on you for your approval at this moment to feel okay about themselves or about the thing they are sharing. 

This is one of the many reasons supporting Agreement 1:  Telling the Truth and Hearing the Truth.

If we are to be sensitive to them and their needs and we want to increase the level of intimate sharing from them, we would do well to be caring and kind when they share something that took courage or they had fear around sharing. The more we make it safe for them to share - meaning we make it no big deal with no dramatic reactions - and thank them and acknowledge them for sharing it and the courage it took, the more they will share and the more intimacy and connection you will experience with them. 

They will open to you more and more.

That’s how we engage with them there. With kindness.

Brace Yourself


How we deal with it when the roles are reversed is very different.

Now, imagine it is you doing the sharing. If you feel it is vulnerable to share what this is pointing to your fear that they will judge you, shame you, stop liking you, be angry or hurt, or leave you when you share it. Setting aside any possibility that you are revealing you broke an agreement - that’s a very different animal - at its worst, this can be a sign of co-dependence. At best, it points to a lack of full self-acceptance as you are looking to them/hoping for validation or approval.

At this point, we can look back on both the sections on esteem for yourself.

Once you have fully accepted every aspect of yourself - meaning be willing to look in the mirror unflinchingly at all of your exceptional qualities, your faults, and everything in between - once you can face the truth about yourself fully - the whole experience of “vulnerability” fades away. Once you have self-acceptance, shame and shaming, and the fear of a lack acceptance from others and the corollary seeking or needing of their approval all evaporate - or at the very least you become immune in a healthy way.

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From the forthcoming book #EvolutionaryRelationships

 

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The Ultimate Meditation | The Law of Attraction is Already Working For You, But Not The Way You Might Think

Thinking-about-thinking-730x335 Metacognition is the most important capacity to develop for personal development
Communication skills: we often think of how skilled we are communicating with others but the more important skillset is how we communicate with ourselves.
 
You are communicating with yourself every second of every waking moment. Not just stuff you say to yourself. That's obvious. But futures you imagine. Situations you think about. Imaginings of outcomes.
 
This is why meta-cognition and meta-awareness is the most important capacity to develop of all.
 
The ability to rapidly notice any thoughts that do not serve you - because everything is self-hypnosis - and change them to positive and empowering thoughts is the ultimate skill.
 
For some, they never notice the negativities - and then they wonder why the Law of Attraction does not work for them. It is. It does. Whether you realize it or not. The thing you think about most often, for the longest duration, with the most emotional intensity will come to pass.
 
So if you wake up with anxiety, filled with worry, you are imagining negative futures or outcomes. Probably accompanied by internal self-talk about how you might fail or “what if it does not work out”? Sitting down for a 10-minute meditation to think positive thoughts about what you want to create is not going to counteract hours of worry and fear.
 
No.
 
The real meditation is becoming aware of every thought you think every moment of every day. Become aware of that - and master it - and you will master your emotions, your inner life, and ultimately realize your vision.
 
Even when stuff goes sideways - and you have unexpected crises, with this ingrained as a habit, you will recover much faster and find solutions far more easily, and do it while having the pleasure of knowing it will all work out just fine no matter what.
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