Hi, welcome back. I'm Stephanie Hibbert and I'm so glad that you're here.
I loved sharing my first podcast with you. It was such an awesome experience. If you haven't
listened to it yet, go back and start there-- it's worth it. I have been feeling a lot of emotion
around it. There's been a voice in the back of my mind that keeps telling me that the grownups
are going to show up and shut down this party; that I cannot enjoy doing a podcast this much;
that it's just not okay for me to share these things with you.
Have you ever felt that way? Where you have had something happen in your life that you felt
awesome about, or new possibilities that felt exciting. And then, right after, you feel this sinking
feeling like it's not going to last, and the reality is going to hit you sometime soon. Like maybe
you just don't understand all the things going on. So you can't enjoy the moment.
I felt this way a lot when I was in therapy. I would learn and I would grow and I'd feel awesome
for a moment. And then the voice would tell me, Oh, you're so cute. You learn something little,
but you don't understand, there's way more here that you need to work on. And there's going
to be a trigger in the next few minutes... you better brace yourself.
I would get really good at looking all around me, and seeing the possibilities , and catching
them before they came. Cause there's triggers everywhere and I could see them all around me.
But, like I mentioned in my first podcast, that process--totally optional. Triggers are optional.
That's what we're going to talk about today. The truth about triggers, what that means for you,
and then my TLC takeaway will include a little golden nugget about light and a practice that you
can use to add TLC to your life today.
Let's start off by defining the word trigger.
Webster's dictionary says to trigger is "to cause an intense and usually negative emotional
reactions in someone." Seems logical, right? It was my definition when I was helping people
struggling with pornography addiction. I remember a time about eight years ago where I was
participating in a group session and one of the women was feeling very overwhelmed by her
From that place of overwhelm, she said that going out in public during the summer was like
having lung cancer and willingly walking into a designated smoking area; that anytime she saw a
woman wearing a bikini or short shorts, or anything that she saw as suggestive clothing, she
would feel triggered, worry about her husband, then feel overwhelmed by trauma from his
infidelity. She said that there were so many triggers around her that she could barely breathe
from the suffocation of this " smoke" around her. She was trying to hold boundaries with her
husband, but he was still acting out in lustful fantasies and she didn't trust him. She just
couldn't find a place where she could feel safe leaving her home. According to this woman's
belief, married with Webster's definition, these women were triggering her, creating an
intense, negative, emotional reaction inside of her.
I want you to take a moment and think about how you feel hearing this woman's story. How
are you feeling about what I shared? About these triggers that are creating this negative
experience for this woman? Can you feel the powerlessness? How stuck she feels? Not a very
hopeful story. Right?
Well, here is the truth about triggers. It was not the women who were triggering her. It was not
what they were wearing that was triggering her. It was not her husband or his past actions that
were triggering her. It was her own thoughts. She believed that these women were triggering.
So, that's how she experienced them.
Okay. I'm going to tell you something that can change your life forever. It definitely changed
mine the first time I heard this truth. Ready? Your thoughts create your feelings.
I'm going to say it again. Your thoughts are what create your feelings--not the people around
you, not the circumstances you're going through. It's your thoughts! This woman's thoughts
were triggering her feelings, not her husband's actions, not the women in the suggestive
clothing, her own thoughts.
Now it's totally natural if you want to argue with me right now, because a lot of people do. And
I did, when I first heard that thoughts create your feelings. I remember feeling like it took away
all of the accountability of the people around me. Like I just had to be okay with whatever they
did and that my values didn't matter. So if you're feeling that way right now, you're not alone.
It's okay. I get you. But here's why this news is the best news ever: if it's your thoughts that are
triggering you, then being triggered is optional. It gives you all of your power back to create
your feelings instead of being at the mercy of your surroundings and other people's actions--
which is totally good news.
So let's flush out this concept with some examples to help your brain calm down. Most people
will say that when someone you love dies, it causes you grief. Right? Okay, but hang on, when
someone dies, when do you feel sad about it? The moment that they die? Or is it the moment
that you learn about their death and you have a thought about it?
Like, "I'm going to miss them, or "I hope their passing was peaceful," or your brain goes through
all of the things in your life that are going to be harder because they're not here.
The truth is someone you love could have passed away days ago and you're feeling totally
unaffected by it. That's because it's only after you have a thought about their death, that you
start feeling grief; or relief; or loneliness; or whatever feeling your thoughts are creating.
Here's another example of why thoughts create feelings. Answer this: if a circumstance can
trigger an emotion, then why do people experience it differently?
Let's take 9/11 for example. Lots of people felt awful because they thought it was a tragedy. But
then there were some terrorists who felt triumphant because they thought it was a success.
Why did those two groups feel so differently? Well it's because they thought about it
differently. The facts were universal: airplanes hit buildings, people died, the date and location
that it happened... those are all truth. Those are all fact. But the stories that their thoughts
created were what triggered their individual experiences. That's why we all experienced life
differently because we interpret the facts with the stories: our thought stories.
let's go back to Webster's definition, which says, " to trigger is to cause an intense and usually
negative emotional reaction in someone." This is only true if we define a trigger as a thought
and not as a situation or circumstance.
You might be thinking, okay, Stephanie, why does it matter if a trigger is a thought or a
circumstance, either way, I'm feeling awful about it, and I don't know what to do.
But, here's the thing, if you recognize that your trigger is a thought inside your own mind, then
you have the power to change the trigger by changing what you choose to think. When the
woman in the group session saw the women around her and thought about their clothing as
suggestive, her brain took that label and shifted it to thinking about her husband's actions and
fantasies. The combination of those thoughts created feelings of fear and trauma, similar to
times where she had felt that way in the past. So she would blame her past for starting that
trigger, blame the women for bringing up that trigger, blame her husband for not fixing things
so she could stop being triggered, and live her day to day at the mercy of the things around her.
Can you see how she's giving away all of her power? No wonder she felt like she couldn't
breathe. Once she recognizes that her thoughts inside her own mind are what's triggering her,
then she has the power to change her experience.
When I first learned this, it was like someone had gone inside my brain and turned on all of the
lights, opened my eyes to the chaos that I had been creating for myself-- chaos that I had
borrowed from past beliefs and that I was unknowingly recreating in my life over and over
again. Chaos that didn't have to be there.
I would fight day after day to try and change my circumstances or "heal" from my past so that I
didn't have to go through that chaos. But what I didn't know was that my circumstances didn't
need to change. Just my thoughts about them. So powerful.
All right. Now let's bring it to your life.
In my last podcast, I told you to think of an area of your life, where you bring up your past, you
go through your triggers, you re-experience the emotion of where you had been in the past.
What is that past experience that you just can't seem to leave behind?
Here's your TLC takeaway for today: When you feel tempted to blame or borrow thoughts from
your past, practice this positive trigger thought instead:
"I choose today how I want to think about yesterday."
The past can't trigger you--only you can. What triggers do you want to keep in your life? You
get to choose. And that's what coaching is. It's turning on the lights to see what is going on in
your brain, recognizing thoughts that aren't serving you, and picking thoughts on purpose that
will help you create the life that you actually want to live. A life without repeating where you've
That's why I call myself the light coach. My goal is to help you turn on the lights inside of you to
see the power that you have and let go of any heaviness or darkness that you've unnecessarily
been carrying around. It's time. It's time for you to think light, to feel light, and to live light.
If you want to learn more about how to think light, feel light and live light, then hop on my
website, www.thelightcoach.com to schedule a free intro session and explore what's possible
for you. That's www.theL-I-G-H-Tcoach.com. I promise you it'll be an adventure that you will