As a young person, I was always aware that it took a great deal to push me into an angry outburst. I was also aware that when that threshold was reached, it was not a pretty sight! The reason the explosion was exponentially more intense than the action that sparked it was because the explosion represented the cumulative effect of many such actions that I had stuffed down inside me.
After one memorable event, I asked myself: "When did I shift from just hiding my feelings from others to hiding my feelings from myself?" And you know what I figured out? It didn't really matter when it started. What did matter was that I recognized that I was doing it and started trying to change it.
Stress is usually caused by a lack of knowledge about a situation or a lack of direction. Taking a proactive stance on your personal psychology will change your life. There is an approach that is absolutely necessary if you plan to stay ahead of those feelings that have been simmering for years. It is called developing a Self-Observer.
Using a Self-Observer increases your awareness of the connection between your thoughts and feelings and your subsequent actions. It also gives you something specific to work on. Thus, it reduces the pressure that is building inside you from all those suppressed feelings!
Changing the way you deal with your feelings and your actions requires the development of this Self-Observer. Oh, it’s not what you may think. You know those voices in your head that always have some reaction to everything around you as well as to your thoughts and feelings? Well, that is NOT a Self-Observer.
Those voices are your subpersonalities. Each of them has an agenda, and most of them developed without your conscious awareness in order to meet some specific need that arose. We’ll talk about them at a future date.
A Self-Observer, however, is deliberately developed by you. It is a mental part of you that observes how you think and feel about events in your life without making judgment.
Developing your Self-Observer requires you to consciously note when you have a negative reaction to any situation, such as shouting at someone, or simply feeling regret or frustration over the way something unfolds.
The Self-Observer takes note of what happens, how you feel about it, and how you react to it. It does all this without making excuses, beating up on you, or taking score.
It takes time and effort for this process of self-observation to become second nature to you, but it will, and it is a CRITICAL part of your spiritual growth.
Pushing down your feelings, not dealing with them, in favor of meeting the expectations of others will backfire on you. Developing this Self-Observer is the method that allows you to be more honest with yourself about your feelings.