Triggers are good, and rather than avoid reliving intense experiences, we should embrace them.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way and started at the thrilling conclusion, let’s go back and explore the counterintuitive idea that it’s a good idea to embrace the sources of our deepest pain.
The trigger, the beloved bogeyman of social justice warriors eager for a justification to shut down contrarian discourse, nonetheless represents something real. Traumatic experiences, once past, are buried deep within the furthest recesses of our persistent memory, locked away safe and far from our present mind. Triggers are the keys to the holding cells of the brain, threatening to release whatever rampaging monster of pain we keep locked away.
The reason we seek to avoid triggers is to dodge a confrontation with the voracious beasts of our past. It’s perfectly understandable to avoid having our sanity devoured by a resurrection of past ugliness. However, trigger avoidance is not without cost. Every time we quarantine a psychological ghoul, we close off a section of the castle that is our soul, losing whatever use that particular area may serve to our fulfillment. Lock away the stinging wasp of failure, lose the sweet honey of success. Seal off the lion of rage, miss out on the shade from the tree of tranquility. Flee the viper of violation, abandon the fruit of intimacy. Shut out all your demons, and eventually you will end up trapped in your castle’s spire, alone and miserable, until at last you are visited by death, the one monster you can never shut out.
The reason we avoid triggers is because we are not yet strong enough to face the demons of our pain. In other words, safe spaces are a temporary luxury. However, at some point we have to go face our fears. Otherwise our soul atrophies.
Triggers are not to be avoided. Instead, they should be embraced, as they indicate that we’ve found a monster. And monsters are there for the slaying.