Alaina Reichwald, MA LMFT
Gain Perspective, Become An Observer
Becoming an Observer is all the mindfulness craze. But what does this really mean?
The majority of people have experiences where they react. In fact, most of us are in a constant state of reacting. Someone cuts in front of us on the freeway, we react. Our partner says something insensitive, we react. Our computer glitches, we react. For some people this reacting can look like anger, sadness or fear. Yet, one thing they all have in common is we do not have control in how we are managing difficulties in their lives.
When we move into a place of being the observer in our lives, we actually regain control and have choices about how to interact with the world around us. Initially, being an observer can look like watching ourselves being in a state of reactivity. Yes, we react and get to watch ourselves react. It's a fascinating experience to watch how we are acting and in the process we begin to own ourselves completely. We are no longer victims, but instead participants in any experience we are having.
How to Create this new Observer within ourselves:
Easy first steps:
Practice on a regular basis taking your awareness outside of your body and allowing it to float above you watching your physical body doing whatever it is doing.
Watch yourself having interactions with people in your lives that feel fairly neutral. Here you are training yourself to understand what it feels like to be in Observer Mode.
During a more difficult interaction, even one where you are being reactive, try to see if you can just watch yourself being reactive, with absolutely no judgement but instead curiosity.
Game on... here begin to notice when some sort of drama has gotten you triggered where you are feeling as if you are going to react... and again, but be an observer and see if you can make different choices based on being somewhat separate from the feelings you may be having.
Becoming the Observer takes time and practice, but over a period of time, the more you are able to watch yourself and your reactions, the more control and empowered you feel as you engage in the world around you.