This goes along with being mindful. When you observe something or someone, you are watching them. You are not involved, you are not absorbing their emotions, you are apart from their frustrations and upset. Sometimes, when I have felt depression lingering on the outskirts of my mind, I observe myself.
It is like being at the airport and watching people. You see them doing something, and you think, “Why are they doing that?” or, “Wow, I would never do that.” You are observing them. And that is how it is sometimes with me. I observe what I am doing, or what I am about to do, and I stop and take a moment. Is this what I want to be doing? Is this going to lead to me having a life full of vitality and joy, or is it going to lead to more depression?
For example, I can sometimes meddle in other people’s business; with my daughters and even my son-in-laws. I know it’s hard to believe, but I can. I can be a big, enormous, huge meddler. Then one day, my therapist said, “Val here is the number one rule: never give advice unless it is asked for.” And I remember thinking, wow that is really good advice. And then I would go about my day, meddling. It’s hard not to meddle when you have lived a long time. I’ve done things and made mistakes that I think could have avoided. So when I see my family making those same mistakes, I want to meddle and give advice.
But I realize now, that is not the way to lead a joy filled life. I had to make my own mistakes, and other people have to make theirs. I can listen and be a listening pal, but if I am not asked for advice I need to zip it! It’s really hard to do, but I am learning.
Yesterday, a text came to me accidentally. Truly, our family plan cell phones sometimes screw up. Anyhow, it was between my daughter and her husband. It wasn’t outrageous, just something about money. And I thought, “No way—surely they’re not going to spend money on that?” I struggled with it. Then I realized I had to be the observer and not the absorber. It has nothing to do with me. It is not my life and not my problem. If I am asked I will give advice, but if not—which I am sure I will not be asked—I will zip it!
More than that; I will love them. You see, zipping it, means that there is a combustion of thought that is dying to get out. Like filling a balloon full of air and trying to close it with a safety-pin. At some point the air will be released. But if I choose to love them, to love the situation, then I can simply become the observer.
Today, be the observer. If something comes up where you would normally meddle—stop. Do not be a meddler in other people’s business. If something comes up where you would normally get frustrated or angry—stop. Allow yourself to become the observer.
Watch what happens instead of being part of what happens. Be like an observer. Watch the people, the scenario as if from a distance. And remember to breathe. Breathe my friend, and you will notice that you do not have to be involved in everything. Sometimes being the observer is exactly where you need to be.