Eat your peas or meet your needs?

Are you wondering what eating your peas has to do with meeting your needs? Well, here you go!

I’ve been triggered a lot in the last few weeks. Yep…it happens. I’ve done a lot of healing work and continue to do so, and still, triggers happen.

Things that trigger us are typically old hurts, childhood trauma, calling for our attention. The beautiful thing is they don’t grip me so tightly any longer. I’ve learned to see them, witness them, and love them. I know how counterintuitive that sounds. Stay with me.

It took me a long time to realize what childhood trauma is. I believed trauma had to be some big deal event of abuse or neglect which wasn’t the case. But I’ve come to better understand after being introduced to teachers like Gabor Mate who says that trauma can happen even when you’re not overtly hurt.

The difficult truth is, there was violence in my childhood. I was struck with the belt when I was just 5 years old. I have no memory of why I received that punishment, but I can still feel shame and tremendous confusion about it.

There was also a lot of anger in the home and a definite need for me to be “nice”. Expressing anger myself was a big no-no. For much of my life, I bottled up my anger, terrified that it would spew out all over everyone like a shaken can of soda. At times it did and I would immediately berate myself for it.

Anger or intense outbursts is a sign that our needs have been chronically unmet.

Dr. Nicole Lepera

It took me a long time to really see and understand that anger is important. That all emotions matter. Anger is fear calling for love. Instead of being afraid of anger, I started to turn towards it, to get curious about what it had to tell me, what it is inviting me to connect with. What unmet need lay just beneath the surface?

Triggers are here to help us do that if we’re willing to turn toward the discomfort instead of reacting to it or pushing it away. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy to do when your buttons get pushed, but with practice, it is possible to find the gifts and lessons hidden within and there’s tremendous freedom in that.

I am committed to being kind and loving to myself. To no longer shame or guilt myself for anything. I also know with any commitment to myself the Universe will give me lots of ways to practice that commitment. Oh, yeah.

I recently had one such practice situation that brought up old feelings of guilt and shame…at least momentarily. I let myself feel the feelings and when I got curious I was transported back to my childhood home, sitting at the dining table. My mother angrily tells me to, “EAT YOUR PEAS!! There are children starving in other countries!!” I was often shamed for having my own preferences, such as not liking to eat peas, and over time that amounted to feeling unsafe to be me. I realized that’s what I was feeling in this present situation, unsafe to be me.

With this awareness, I can be my adult self, knowing it is safe to meet my needs and not eat peas. That I am safe to make my own choices and do what feels right for me in my life. With clarity, I can then decide what feels loving and appropriate for me to do, or not do, in this situation.

It’s very hard to see love as a force, as a power rather than a weakness. But that is its reality.

Teal Swan

Here are a few steps that help me move from reacting out of old fears to responding with love. Maybe this can help you too.

Pause. This might be one of the most significant shifts you can make in any situation because it creates an opening for inquiry. In that opening, allow yourself to feel what you feel. Anger? Resentment? Frustration? Whatever it is is okay. Name the feeling if you can. Notice how it feels in your body. Breathe with it. Allow it. Sit with it. All healing begins with feeling and most emotions last about 90 seconds if we don’t resist them.

Get curious. Ask yourself, “What would it feel like to accept this?”. To simply be okay with what I’m feeling. No judging it. No resisting it. When I can do this, it takes the sting out of the situation and creates space for me to acknowledge the hurt and get curious about the unmet need beneath the surface.

Inquire. Ask loving, supportive questions. “What is my earliest memory of feeling this way? When have I felt this before?” No pressure, just notice what comes. Nothing may come…and that’s okay too….this isn’t a way to make yourself feel worse but rather accept what is. Sometimes an answer comes later. Be easy with yourself.

Practice radical self-compassion and care. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Maybe a warm blanket and a cup of tea and snuggles with your fur friend, a soothing bath or a walk and fresh air, a drive to the ocean or hike in the woods, a quiet place to be with your journal. Journaling always helps me to see what I think and get curious about what I really need. Play, paint, sing, dance, put on music that soothes your soul. If it feels silly, all the more reason to do just that! Let your inner child play.

The people who trigger us or cause us to feel negative emotion are messengers. They are messengers for the unhealed part of our being.

Sharon Salzberg

Triggers are never about anyone else. I know it feels like they are, but truly life is always supporting you and I and triggers are life’s way of showing us the emotional traumas that need to be healed in my own life.

By loving what is, not resisting it, we can meet those old unmet needs calling for our love and attention and free ourselves to respond to whatever life presents us with love, starting with loving ourselves.

From my heart to yours,

Ready to address your unmet needs, reclaim your personal power and create more freedom, success, and fulfillment in your life. Schedule a complimentary Finally First call with me today.

Scroll to Top