Do you ever have a moment where you realize you just did the very thing you remember your mom or dad doing when you were a kid? While there are many amazing things this applies to the one I am referring to here is the thing that used to drive me crazy. For me it was the saying “You need to ask what you can do to help.” Before I continue I should say that I am incredibly grateful that I was raised in a family that instilled in me the importance of helping others. It has served me in more ways than one. The reason, however, that this was such a trigger for me is because I was raised by a supermom. You know, the ones that seem to be able to manage 482 things without issue? As a child, however, I always remember feeling this comment was made when she tried to tackle the 483rd thing and it wasn’t going too well.
Enough about that lets get back to how this applies to me and therefore how it applies to you. I was at our family cabin a short while ago making dinner for my fiancé and a group of friends. Everything was going well, I had my Superwoman cape on and I was going to be a host extraordinaire. And then it wasn’t, something was burning while something else was still raw and before I knew it I was overwhelmed and angry that everyone was having a good time while I was slaving away in the kitchen. My girlfriend came in to check on me and that is when it happened, I said the very words I used to hate hearing growing up in a tone that I can’t say I am proud of. My girlfriend, bless her soul, gave me a hug and told me that it’s okay for me to take my superwoman cape off and that it’s okay to ask for help but that it would be really good for me (and others!) if I could ask for help before it got to the point where I was feeling upset.
So what is my point after all this rambling? My point is that we all have things that we used to hear growing up that are triggers for us. Most of us will also have moments where we see ourselves doing this very thing without even realizing it. So think about what this is for you and instead of letting history repeat itself look at how you can shift things to make it work better both for you and your relationships. Perhaps the message behind the trigger is really valuable but the way it was delivered didn’t work for you. In this case take some time to see how you can shift things and how you can use these triggers as an opportunity to grow. Personally I had to do some real thinking on what it meant to ask for help and why doing so doesn’t make me less competent. My mom’s message is still really important but I needed to reframe it and not just ask what I can do to help but also actually ask for help when I need it.
What are the triggers from your childhood and what steps can you take to either change them entirely or just alter them to make them fit a bit better? Take a moment to reflect on who you are and to look inward. Doing so provides us with an opportunity to grow into our best self and that’s good not just for our relationships but also ourselves.