Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The next essential tool or tool #2 for going through life transitions is the ability and practice of observing yourself. This goes hand in hand with the first tool, seeing the big picture. Once you are aware of the big picture, you can then observe yourself even when you are participating in life. In fact, it is crucial to do it as you go through your day. What you may not have been able to decipher, you can now recognize easily. Separation from your ego and your personality allows you to see it more clearly. You will be able to see your fears, reactions, compulsions, judgments, expectations, beliefs, etc. This in turn allows you to work through them. Take fear for example, once you realize which fear gets in the way of moving forward, you can go deeper into it and figure out what it is made of, how it shows up in different scenarios, how you have coped with it (or not) in the past, etc. And last, but not least, what might the fear be teaching you? These are all questions you can work with your coach to help you move through the fear and make some life empowering choices.
Observations can also reveal our judgments and beliefs. No matter who we think we are, we can’t help but to judge ourselves, others, circumstances, etc. Perhaps the word judge is not accurate, because it is more like evaluations. We are always evaluating things, comparing them, mostly done in order to understand. But once our ego gets activated, the evaluation becomes more like a ranking system that we use to judge. And unfortunately, the judgments only imprison the judge, not the object of the judgment. Once you cast an opinion on something, you hold that thing within the constraints of that opinion. Any other event or object that is similar to that first event or object, will follow the same fate, and so on, and so on. No one can feel free when they’ve slammed the judgment doors shut. Every time we think, “I should have”, “I could have”, etc., it is a judgment on what is. Observation, allows you the space to catch yourself casting judgment. The moment you become the observer in your own story, you have given yourself the power to choose. Once you know that what you were thinking was a judgment, you can choose to think and eventually believe something else. This is also the first step in changing belief systems.
Observations also reveal expectations. We want things to turn out a certain way. Expectations like judgments imprison the person who is doing the expecting. When you expect, you are saying “no” to what is not within the domain of your expectation. In other words, you are closing the door on all other possibilities. It is a self-limiting practice that we have learned to do early on in life. We have been trained to respond a certain way from the moment our parents and teachers taught us how to speak or behave, and since then we’ve been practicing this way of being. You do something and then you expect something for it. This all works well until you don’t get the reward you were expecting for your behavior. And even as adults we then behave like children having a tantrum when it all comes crumbling down. Observations allow you to see what it is that you are expecting and the space to choose to dismantle this learned behavior. Eventually, you will get to a place where you will only do that which brings you joy. The action is driven by the intent to experience joy, not to get some reward. As simple as it sounds, you’ll be astounded at how often you do things because you are expected to do them. And this type of re-wiring of your SELF is not easy! Observing yourself helps you zoom out of your story and see the big picture. These two tools go hand in hand when going through transitions or even just when you want to have a bigger and more fulfilling life experience. They allow you to choose how to be in every moment of every day instead of reacting to what you think is happening.
If you are going through a major transition and are still interested, stay tuned for tool #3 in next week’s post.