I had a profound revelation during my meditation class with Scott McBride of ClearLight Meditation. In many ways, this revelation changed my life. We were talking about becoming mindful of every day inconveniences, difficult people, and challenging situations. In the moments when “our buttons are pushed,” Scott said, “it’s important to recognize that we created our buttons.”
I paused. Mulled this over and immediately felt my ego struggle against it. My small self kicked it around for a few moments. “What do you mean they are my buttons,” I thought, “I don’t have any buttons!”
As I sat with this edginess for few days, it became crystal clear. Yes, I do have buttons. Yes, I created my buttons and yes, they provide me with magnificent moments to wake up and become more aware of how easily I feel inconvenienced and put off in life.
My buttons are my triggers. They buzz my ego with what feels like an electric impulse. You know what I’m talking about. It’s those small moments of annoyance when the woman standing in line in front of you is yapping too loudly on her cell phone or the man on the yoga mat next to you is huffing and puffing in every pose. Buttons can also be larger in scale like the co-worker that is quick to take credit and quick to blame. Big buttons exist everywhere, especially in our close relationships, i.e. partners, kids, and parents. (There are loads of buttons there!)
It has been liberating to digest the fact that my buttons are mine and I need to take responsibility for them. I created them and only I can let go of them. At the end of the day, I am the one who has set the level at which I am mildly annoyed, inconvenienced, and plain old pissed-off. This is not to say that there are not rude people in this world, self-absorbed co-workers or pain-in-the-butt family members. I am simply trying to own what is mine to own—and it’s not easy work.
Perhaps this touches close to home. Do you have your own buttons? (If you quickly answered no, I dare you to think again.)
I’ve found that the two best places to become acquainted with my buttons are—you guessed it—the yoga mat and meditation seat. It is during these mindfulness practices that your triggers will become crystal clear. As you calm and steady your mind, your buttons will pop up and boldly present themselves to you.
This can be a wonderfully liberating moment.
Ah-yes, you might say, that’s one of my buttons over there! Getting pissed-off at so-and-so all the time is just a button. Stressing over small detours in life is just a button. You will begin to see the silliness of most of your reactions and will also recognize that, in order to get rid of certain buttons, you might need to have an honest conversation with so-and-so or to change your ways. You’ll start noticing your buttons every where—and don’t worry—once you see them, you’ll know just what you need to do with them.
At the end of the day, who needs buttons any way?
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