Occasionally, stray vestiges might pop up, and you might feel uncomfortable. Perhaps you might see it as a repeated lesson, that you’re running into a particular situation or person. But people and situations will always exist, whether or not you have accepted what happened to you. And so maybe it isn’t about you, but rather, a fact of life. Or as Danielle LaPorte pens it so beautifully in her book How To Be Loving, “We can choose to let someone be who they are for us today, not a hologram of yesterday’s issue.”
And even then, it doesn’t mean you have to embrace such a person or situation to prove to yourself you’ve healed. Personally, I dislike people when they are high, rowdy, and drunk. I never liked putting myself in such situations prior to that, but they’ve made me feel especially unsafe in the aftermath of a previous narcissistic relationship. So aware of my needs for safety, I choose to disengage from people when I see them drink a bit too much, and I generally exit such situations anyway because I don’t like staying out too long to drink either.
Bottom line is, I don’t judge these people for what they do, nor myself for feeling and responding the way that I do. It’s the same way I prefer to sit on the aisle seat when flying and don’t judge myself for that.
Sometimes, you may still feel retriggered, and that’s okay. In these situations, ask yourself, what’s going on in your environment? Is a place or thing tarred with a bad memory, and do you want to reclaim it? If so, you can start creating better memories with safe and good people, or with yourself.
Or, are you constantly being exposed to people who make it hard to feel at peace? For instance, are you often seeing toxic family members out of guilt or obligation, and so keep walking on eggshells? Or did you recently run into a naysayer who shamed you for what you went through— that you were stupid, naive, or immature? In the same way that we don’t deliberately put our lives in danger or discomfort— e.g. we will walk away from dark alleyways or streets filled with bins— we can make these exposures temporary.