Last week I said I would cover the last two concepts on psychological flexibility. Well, I changed my mind and decided to split them up. Why? The main reason is it took me a full week to write and understand the concept of “self as context.” After writing and re-writing as well as talking to people who know this stuff, I decided to go for it.
Sometimes the chatter in my head tries to run my life by telling me I need to know more, do better or it’s not good enough. When I do know. However, I am glad I can ask people I trust to help me out and give me feedback. Consequently, I am practicing psychological flexibility by doing what is workable for me towards accomplishing my goal.
Self as Context
Another phrase for “self as context” is the “observing self.” The observer is who we are. Who we are is beyond the job we perform or the title we have. “Who we are,” is beyond the role we have in life or the truamtic experiences on our memories. See if any of the descriptions listed below fully tells who you are.
- Truck Driver/Doctor
The above words are the usual way I describe myself and you probably do too. It is what we are taught from the time we are small children. It is normal. Yet, the real question is “Who am I beyond the descriptions?”
This is a more difficult question to answer. Who you are is all of your experiences from the time you were born. How I experience this is that I know I have an essence of being. What I am saying is, “I am the observer of my life and the entity which notices the observer.” Try the following:
- Take a moment and just observe your thoughts. You might want to close your eyes.
- Notice where the thoughts seem to be. (above, in front, or outside of you).
- Now, take a step back to see another layer to the observer.
- Can you notice the observer? Who is doing the noticing? Who is aware of the observer that is noticing?
You may need to try this several times. I had to practice to get a sense of noticing the observer. What this points to is that you are the context of how you experience your life. It is like a pair of sunglasses with customized tinting unique to you like your fingerprints.
Jason Luoma explains the observer and self as context in connection to psychological flexibility. Take a glance at his website by clicking here. Then let me know your thoughts. Also, be sure to ask me to explain further.
One more thought. The true gift about psychological flexibility is I am more than my thoughts of bad memories, negative feelings or traumatic experiences.