Have you ever experienced an apparently small upset that caused you to break down or overreact? It happens to all of us.
Jordan Peterson says that we need to reflect on the major bad things or trauma that happened to us, especially in childhood. It is because we need to convince our brains that although we were helpless and got hurt before, we can handle a similar situation now. For example, imagine a toddler being shouted at and being beaten by an angry parent. It is terrifying to such a poor child and he or she cannot defend themselves. When they grow up and somebody raises their voice at them, without realising it they may feel as helpless as when they were a child. They might become depressed or cover it up with anger etc.
Imagine now that you are a self aware adult. You know and acknowledge or even accept your past. When someone shouts at you, you will notice your reaction and you will understand it. You will understand that once you were a small abused child and you were helpless. A moment later however you will realise that you are an adult now and you are not helpless anymore. You can take care of yourself now. Whoever is shouting at you at the moment is your equal. When I do this I immediately feel strong, safe and calm.
What I needed to do today to improve my ability to regulate my emotions is to accept or integrate my past as part of me. Many psychologists say that taking care of your inner child leads to healing but my intellectual and emotionally reserved self was sceptical till now. A deep, vulnerable part of us, warns us of dangers based on previous experiences. We need to reassure that part of ourselves that we are safe now and we can take care of ourselves.