an assortment of buttons in a rainbow of colors, in a printers box

an assortment of buttons in a rainbow of colors, in a printers box

 Once, in an empty parking lot in Louisiana, I found a collection of buttons scattered on the ground. Each had it’s own beauty, and, of course, since they were abandoned, I took some home to add to my button collection. I couldn’t imagine anyone leaving their ‘buttons’ behind.

Buttons have different functions, and all of them are important. And for every function, there is an idiom! In this Part 1, I will talk about buttons that can be pushed.

Yes, buttons can be pushed. Have you ever felt that someone has pushed your buttons? Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who knew just what to say, or what to do, that would make you want to explode? Or, maybe you did explode. Or, perhaps you left a conversation with injured feelings. Or returned a remark with a button push-back of your own.

What happens when our buttons get pushed? Why do we feel so angry, or agitated, or sad, or frustrated? Why do we even have urges to get even’? What usually happens is that our own INNER CRITIC gets injured. This inner critic may believe someone’s remark. If someone calls me ‘pushy’ when I knew I was just being assertive, my inner critic may open her eyes and say “She’s right, you know”. When we allow our buttons to get pushed we can get depressed and want to withdraw.

I rarely allow my buttons to be pushed now. (Notice I use the word ‘allow’.) In the age of computers, laptops, and IPhones our metaphoric buttons can be reprogrammed! There was a time, however, when my mother could actually push several buttons at the same time. Years after I reprogrammed my emotional keyboard of buttons, we were able to laugh (and cry) together over this. I also remember only too well how a co-worker tried her darnedest to push my buttons. When she finally realized I had become a pro at reprogramming my ‘keyboard’, she actually laughed with me and called for a lasting truce. We remained friends who knew and respected each other’s limits. If we don’t set our boundaries, how will others know when they are stepping over them? Our metaphoric buttons help with this.

How do we reprogram our emotional keyboard of buttons? 

1. We listen to our gut reaction. When something feels off, our buttons may have been pushed.

2. We own our response. It is OUR response, after all.

3. Check in with our INNER CRITIC and listen to that hurt part of ourselves, usual our ‘inner child’. Comfort that part.

4. And then ask that Inner Critic to question it’s reaction. Use cognitive questioning. Where is the proof? What is the worst thing about it? Really, are you still OK? Yes, you are.

5. Make the conscious decision to release that button of yours that was pushed. That you pushed in response to some one or some event or some doubt.

6. Yeah! You are OK. More than OK. You have reprogrammed your keyboard.

So, I ask you to please, push my buttons. Let me know what you see, what you want. This helps me see myself, and also see a genuine you. Only when I know what you want and who you are on the inside, can I come outside and help you.

Red button on white background

Red button on white background

 If you need help with your buttons, please call me. We can work on your keyboard together!

Claudia Trevithick, ATR-BC





  1. You bring up some good points. I especially like how you talk about us “owning our response”. Such a good thing to remember.

    • Natasha, Somehow I wasn’t notified of your response. I’m so sorry to have not replied! I enjoy your information, also

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