About 6 weeks ago a horrible tragedy occurred in Israel. It was a Jewish holiday and like all the prior years, tens of thousands of people gathered at the site of a Rabbi’s memorial to honor and celebrate the holiday. Unlike other years, the celebration ended with an accidental stampede, killing 45 members of the community and wounding many more. This news hit me hard. I struggled to process how such an awful occurrence could happen on such a peaceful and happy day. The loss felt really personal to me. There are only approximately 16 million people in our tribe out of a world of 7 billion. So, the loss of any of our community members felt like a loss in my own family.
This tragedy put things into perspective and it got me thinking. I thought about all the small, insignificant situations that emotionally trigger me and bends me out of shape. Upon reflection, I said to myself, “stop sweating the small stuff”. So what if the conversations at dinner aren’t interesting, or I’m stuck talking about the color pink with someone for 2 hours? I made someone really happy by providing a space for them to share something they love. Do I need to get into road-rage-mode if someone cuts me off in traffic? What’s the big deal? They’ll get there 30 seconds before me.
We get so wrapped up in the one-off moments and sometimes it feels like these are our biggest issues. When we let it distort our mental state and emotions, we often get wrapped up in the negative energy. When it feels like we’re jumping from one emotional inconvenience to another, that’s when we’ve got to ask ourselves, what’s actually important to us? Is spending 2 hours of my life partaking in conversation that’s “not my thing” really a big deal? What’s really important to me is that I’ve contributed to someone’s happiness. Considering the more important values can help ground us.
To help me work through moments that trigger unwarranted reactions, I’ve chosen the number 33 to be my grounding token. A grounding token is something that can remind us of the bigger picture and the things that truly matter to us. It helps us neutralize anguish and allows us to find peace. I chose the number 33 because it is related to the Jewish holiday that the tragedy had occurred upon. Whenever I get emotionally bent out of shape over something insignificant, either the people close to me say the words “33” or I remind myself of the number. This makes me stop and think about why I’m getting worked up and dig deeper into why I’m upset. It also helps me get over the “silly stuff”, the non-issues, and step into the things I truly value.
Having a grounding token isn’t going to stop us from getting triggered because it’s natural to feel emotionally affected by occurrences in our lives. The token is a way to help us handle our reactions to our triggers. Finding our grounding piece not only helps us maintain a healthy relationship with our core values and beliefs, and also helps us stay focused on our purpose. Using our token and adjusting our reactions as we get triggered is essentially like hitting the gym, and working out a specific part of our body. We will not gain abs overnight, however, with focus, intent, and effort, we will get that six-pack.
As we build up this muscle and embrace the things we truly value, we end up leading a life with more compassion and have a less self-righteous ego. When we live according to our values, it can free us from the grips of our triggers and help us embrace a more joyful and fulfilling life.
I would like to invite you to think about your important values and what you can use as your grounding token?