I had an interesting conversation with someone I highly respect about “triggering” and her reason for believing that black people can’t be racist. Now, I accept her reasoning for her belief that black people can’t be racist because of course she could believe that considering her definition of racism being that there has to be a systematic oppression present (just means that historically, black folks are just racist towards Hebrews I guess *cough*EgyptisinAfrica*cough!**cough!*thinkaboutit*cough!*). So, if she truly believes that definition of racism, I can understand why she would feel that way.
But the speech she gave about not wanting to trigger someone, just baffles me.
The whole point to bad feelings is to tell you that something is wrong, something hurts. And whatever that is needs to be healed. If we always go around avoiding bad feelings, we’ll never heal.
What I mean is, when we’re sick, we feel the symptoms in our body and we go to the doctor or go to the store and get medicine. Our symptoms tell us what kind of treatment is needed. Like, we wouldn’t use a neti pot or sinus medicine for a stomachache. We wouldn’t get Pepto-bismol for a headache. And a doctor wouldn’t prescribe insulin for someone who wasn’t diabetic.
But what usually happens when we ignore our symptoms? When we pretend they’re not there? Whatever is wrong gets worse. Try healing a broken leg without the cast. Or taking off the boot, the doctor gave you and walking around on a broken ankle. It’ll heal. But it will heal all kinds of wrong and you’re left with a problem much worse and more long-term than the original.
It’s no wonder so many people have problems with drugs and alcohol. If we’re being taught from an early age that bad feelings are something to be avoided, then of course we’re going to turn to whatever we have to in order to numb ourselves to them.
This is why that episode of Steven Universe called Mindful Education is so important and the kind of lessons that show teaches are so critical in this day and age where everyone just wants to feel good and they want to feel good right now. Forget about waiting. The need for instant gratification is getting out of hand.
Instead of casting eggshells around the feet of everyone around us and making everyone else responsible for our emotional wellbeing, we need to take back control. The words of the song, “Here Comes a Thought” give us wonderful advice for what to do when we’re triggered instead of running from it or attacking whatever it is that triggered us in the first place.