“Triggered” or Thin Skin?

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Triggered. It’s a word teenagers are familiar with these days: We hear it in the halls, we see it on social media. To feel “triggered” is defined as any negative emotional response to a certain something. As someone growing up in this day and age, a trigger may refer to anything, be it a joke taken too seriously or someone glancing at you the wrong way. Being “triggered” may sound funny at first, but this seemingly harmless word is cultivating a society of soon-to-be adults who are unaccustomed to the realities of life.

The things that make people feel triggered are mostly inconsequential, like homework on weekends and snow turning to rain before school can get cancelled. Adverse reactions to such trivial matters develop an intolerance to real issues in our world. Today’s youth will be woefully unprepared to cope with important concerns as their lives progress when foundations are shaken because their favorite TV show is going off the air.

“I see it as an escape word,” says Chase Keller (’17). “It’s a word we use to avoid uncomfortable topics and conversations that we could potentially learn from.”

This recent obsession with the word “trigger” is not something millennials should be proud of. In the news, all we hear are calls for safe spaces and emotional protection rights, and people my age begin to think this is a new, acceptable way of life when it’s not. Life isn’t fair and life will not pause to consider your feelings. Even more than this, matured adults alive in 2016 scorn the millennial “My emotions trump all” outlook that so many of us are adopting. In order for today’s teenagers to be taken seriously in college and beyond, we must first accept that sometimes, being uncomfortable is just being uncomfortable. And that’s okay.