Center for Shared Insight, PC

Being the Observer: A Simple Skill to Overcome Life’s Challenges

September 19, 2018
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Posted By: Kristen Hick, Psy.D.
women being the observer

Have you ever been in a situation in which you feel like you can’t get clarity? Maybe you are torn between two choices, or in a fog about what the best next step looks like. This might be the case in a decision around a relationship, job, or any other potential change in your life. Or, you might witness your partner, family members, and friends go through a back and forth for a long time as they are determining the right path, and struggling to remain objective about these important next steps.

Oftentimes, during these periods of transition, your thoughts are muddled with emotions and it’s hard to be objective and logical about the potential change on the horizon. Becoming the observer during these times is a powerful practice that can help you overcome life’s challenges with more clarity and confidence.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to get into “observer mode” and how it can help you more objectively make important decisions in your life.

The Observer Mode Defined

Psychology Today describes an Observer as someone who can remove themselves from a situation to better “understand”. In this mode, a person can distance him or herself and better analyze the situation. He or she evaluates, rather than being immersed in the feelings that are present in the current scenario. As the observer, you can stand outside of the dynamics at play.  

If you think of your life as a movie, you can be both a participant and a spectator. When you are a spectator, you can see the movie of your life unfolding from a more comprehensive perspective. You can view your behavior objectively and without as much emotion. As an observer or spectator, you can step back and separate from what is happening, and observe the dynamics without being pulled into them.

Using the Observer Mode

When you experience heightened emotions, lots of back and forth on a decision, and a general lack of intuition, the observer mode can be particularly effective. It’s during these times, especially when the situation at hand is personal, that emotions run high. This mindfulness strategy of being the observer can have tremendous benefits as you work to get clarity on any situation.

In practice, the observer mode might look like visualizing yourself as a spectator watching a movie of your life. It could be imaging yourself in a bubble, watching the situation around you. It might even take the form of writing the narrative of the challenge you are experiencing in a journal without sharing your specific perspective. Along with this practice, it might be helpful to create an objective list of the facts at hand so that you can step back and look at the pros and cons of the situation from a broader perspective.

At Center for Shared Insight, we help clients work these practices into their daily life. Such mindfulness strategies are highly effective during times in life when emotions run high or there is a lack of clarity. Becoming the observer is a powerful way to sort through the circumstances at hand and understand next steps with conviction. Our team can also help during these transitions in life.

Contact us to share more about your specific situation and learn how we can help.

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