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Observing


We Like to Judge

If you take a moment to notice, you’ll find that most of us are in a constant state of observing, judging, and critiquing everything and everyone around us. We are supremely skilled at finding who is to blame for any problem, difficulty, or uncomfortable situation. At the cable news level it has become a national sport. And to top it off, many of us also judge ourselves quite harshly.

Valuable Observation

But how often do we truly observe ourselves? How often do we give ourselves credit for our good intentions, good works, good love, and good results? And how often do we analyze our challenges with a spirit of compassion, and design a non-emotional plan to break our habits that hurt ourselves and others? I would say, probably, not often enough.

Why Should We Observe Ourself?

If we take the time to do this, we will magnify our good works and, on the flip side, free ourselves from patterns that suck energy out of our life. When we give ourselves credit for the good we contribute to the world we increase our energy for doing more of this. We actually create happiness and energy from recognizing our good acts and thoughts! So why not do this?!

When we pinpoint those habits and beliefs that we really need to work on, we are able to break the chains that bind us to misery, frustration, and so many other bad feelings. We often have a blind spot for these monkeys that are riding on our backs. Recognize them, shake them off, and you’ll feel a noticeable release of negative energy.

How to Observe

1. Commit to doing it. Make up your mind that you’ll try this. It doesn’t take much time, just awareness.

2. Identify at least one or more good things that you did that day, whether it was an action or a belief or an attitude.

3. Give yourself credit and allow yourself to smile and feel good about it. Journaling is a great way to make this “stick.” Five minutes is all it takes at the end of the day, but spending more time on it is fine too.

4. Watch for your “Bad Moments” during the day. These are those times when you find yourself judging, getting angry, blood pressure rising, getting into arguments, resenting, hating, blaming, falling into self-pity, over-eating, using drugs as a crutch, giving up, over-working, yelling, and anything else that makes you and others feel bad.

5. Make a mental note to analyze your “Bad Moment” at a later time when you have more energy, more stable emotions, and clarity of mind. If you can analyze and change your pattern on the fly, kudos to you. Most of us would have a better chance at change by allowing for a cooling off period first.

6. Analyze your “Bad Moments.” Some questions to guide your analysis:

  • Is this a pattern or a one time issue?
  • What were the circumstances surrounding this event? (low energy, waited to long to eat, certain person, etc.)
  • What are your triggers?
  • What are your beliefs? What would be a belief that would serve you better?
  • How do these bad moments hurt you?
  • How do these bad moments hurt others?
  • What is YOUR contribution to the event? (even if someone initiated it, how did you choose to react?)
  • What part of the blame can you take?
  • How/What could you change in similar future events?
  • What is the root cause of why you acted or felt that way?

7. Forgive yourself. Consider why you’ve been acting in this pattern. Believe that you can change for the good. Give yourself permission to break your destructive patterns. Sometimes we feel that we are even obligated to stick with a pattern. You’re only obligated to follow what you know is right in your heart, not what you may think is expected of you by others.

8. Plan how you will handle similar future events.Think of actions you can take, circumstances you can avoid, and mantras to remind yourself of more empowering beliefs.

9. Take baby steps at first and build on small successes. Journal your successes. Have compassion for yourself and remain committed to being your best for yourself and for others.

10. Make it a way of life. It’s about the journey not the destination.  Don’t worry when you fall down. Just get right back up. Strive to live in peace amidst the chaos. Life is Good!

When I look back on a couple years ago, I can see that I’ve made progress in some areas such as not reacting to triggers with certain people in my life. I used to be a slave to my reactions. I would get irritated and angry. I would be judging. And I wasn’t happy. The triggers are still there, but I (mostly) choose to react in a more positive way. It’s not always easy and I don’t always get it right, but I am aware of what I need to do better and that’s half the battle. I am definitely happier for it. Now I need to work on some other blind spots!

Please Share!

What has been your experience with observing yourself? What do you need to give yourself credit for and what do you want to work on? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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6 Responses to Observing

  1. Mark@ApplyForCreditCards July 12, 2007 at 6:14 pm #

    I think this is a great article, especially point #7 – forgive yourself. I think most of us avoid self analysis because we don’t know how to take it easy on ourselves and be patient. Again, great article!

  2. Raymond July 12, 2007 at 9:28 pm #

    Great tips and guiedelines.

    I never know how to analyze my bad moment till I read this post.

  3. Helen July 13, 2007 at 2:58 am #

    Excellent points to consider, especially number 9. It’s like crossing a street. We can’t just run across without slowing down and carefully observing the flow of traffic.

  4. agentsully July 13, 2007 at 7:34 pm #

    Mark, Raymond and Helen, Thank you so much for your comments. Hope to see you all again soon!

  5. Alan July 15, 2007 at 10:59 pm #

    Great article. We often make mistakes because our decisions are independent of our observations. It’s a lesson we shouldn’t forget in making decisions.

  6. agentsully July 17, 2007 at 12:16 am #

    Thank you Alan for your support. Hope to see you again!

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