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Knowing Your Emotional Triggers

Becoming your most emotionally healthy self through personality study.

For me, by identifying my own emotional triggers, I learned how to respond instead of reacting when unforeseen situations came my way. Also, by understanding my personality and motivations, I learned who I was—instead of who I wasn’t—as a woman in ministry. The following assessments were key to helping me understand myself:

The Enneagram. The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective and The Road Back to You are my personal favorites of the numerous books available on this subject. As a “Seven,” I am prone to busyness and can easily overextend myself. Impulsive with my words and actions, I have to intentionally build a rest of nothingness into my ministry schedule. This quietness taught me how to savor the moment and not respond to everything as an emergency.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)©. Under the MBTI, I identify as an ENFP—Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. Just as I am curious and energetic, I am also easily stressed—and when I am easily stressed, I can tend to react instead of responding. Through this personality test, I learned that trusting my intuition helps me “become more serious, focused, ambitious and goal-oriented.” When I’m focused on the goal ahead, because I know where I’m going I tend not to flounder and my responses indicate an oft desired clear-headedness. In discovering your own indicator, you can better understand your own strengths and challenges, improving your own ability to respond appropriately even in the most stressful of situations.

The 5 Love Languages. In Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, you’ll better understand that whether you’re single or married, you have a relational “love tank” that needs to be filled, extending both into the relational and the vocational sphere. Personally, when I understood my need for words of affirmation, I learned how to effectively communicate my needs to my supervisors: A hand-written note means the world to me. A word of praise will go a million miles with me. When my love tank is filled, I am better able to respond when unexpected moments of crisis arise.

Whatever it is for you, seek to understand your emotional triggers. Discover the flowers—and acknowledge the weeds—of your unique personality, in order that you might learn how to respond instead of reacting. After all, intense moments of crisis are bound to happen in ministry. By learning more about why you are the way you are—created perfectly in God’s image—you, too, can become your most emotionally healthy self.

Cara Meredith is a writer and speaker from the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Her first book, The Color of Life, released in February. You can connect with her on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

July16, 2019 at 8:30 AM

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