”If someone comes along and shoots an arrow  into your heart,  it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person.  It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow  in your heart…”  Pema Chodron

Have you ever had someone talk AT you?  There are times when people harbor frustration, then, without warning they harshly express what’s on their mind. Their fighting words can catch you off-guard and ignite a rattled feeling.  It strikes an inner-core of familiar yet uncomfortable feelings; feelings of unworthiness or helplessness.

When you aren’t prepared for this type of criticism,  you instinctively react to protect yourself. Either you get agitated and verbally retaliate, or the opposite can happen–feeling hurt and overpowered, you respond with silence.

How do we stay centered in the midst of being rattled?  How can we maintain self-worth when we are under fire? 

There are old voices in our head. These voices recycle negative beliefs about who we are — “I’m not good enough. I can’t trust anyone. No one really cares. I’m not worthy enough or loveable enough, etc.” When we get rattled, it may remind us of where we came from, but it doesn’t mean it’s where we need to go.

Our triggers can be set off by feeling vulnerable, and may stir emotional memories of something hurtful in our past. Basically, if our reaction to someone or something is disproportionately intense, then the situation has triggered something deeper.

Fortunately, it is possible to increase our awareness when we get rattled. The rush of energy lets us know when we are ‘in-it.’ As Brene Brown says, “What makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful.” So, let your inner-awareness of vulnerability become your innate compass to welcome that part of you.

When you get rattled, say to yourself, “They just triggered me. I feel rattled. It’s my stuff coming up.”

It’s common to judge or want to push away these feelings, but instead, just notice them. “Vulnerability is not weakness,” writes Brown. In fact, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences.” So, as PitBull’s lyrics go, “I just wanna feel this moment.” “You call it a moment, I call it life.”

In the past when you were  hurt, criticized or yelled at, what you needed, was re-assurance or understanding. For that reason, the faster you pay attention to the sensitive part of yourself, the sooner you can give yourself the proper encouragement. With kind-hearted gentleness and positive inner-validation it becomes easier to return to equilibrium. Awareness, understanding and compassion will neutralize the effect of discontentment towards yourself and others.

Once you find your composure, it becomes less complicated to ‘feel for’ the person that rattled you. Most of the time when people say hurtful things, it’s because something is bothering them or they feel unsatisfied in some way. They have feelings that need attention, too! With a little concern for the other person, together you may be able to identify possible solutions and work towards a common purpose.

Getting more comfortable with your vulnerabilities is the wellspring that allows you to be open to all that you are. As Guy Finley said, “Then we live wholeness itself, instead of spending our lives looking for it.”  With curiosity, patience, and acceptance for all that you are – you are able to value each and every experience that you have.