The holidays are a time to gather with our family, friends, and coworkers. There are social gatherings to attend and eggnog to drink. A time of joy and chatter. The holidays can also be a time of anxiety and stress.
One of the tools we have found to be helpful during gatherings and in our family life is to become a gentle observer. A gentle observer, according to Maureen Graves, is someone who steps outside of the moment and notes what is happening. The gentle observer does not judge herself or himself, or other people. As we cannot control the behaviors of others, we focus on taking care of ourselves so we can have a loving experience.
As Jon notes in the podcast, being a gentle observer is like becoming Ebenezer in A Christmas Carol. He is an onlooker to the past, present, and future. He can not meddle in the what is going on but merely observe from his perspective as a ghost. In this way, you can also become a spectator, you are not pulled into conversations by emotional responses. You can choose to respond, or you can choose to just watch it unfold.
The gentle observer can also be a way to listen to what others have to say, even if you don’t agree with their opinion. You can use it at social gatherings, when you go out shopping, or when you listen to your teenagers as they verbalize the belief systems they are trying to create. A gentle observer is a way we can be gentle with ourselves and with those we love.
(Theme music: Ethan Anderson, Photo credit: Brigitte Tohm)
Relationship Podcast Gems:
- What does it mean to be a Gentle Observer for you?
- Talk about what anxieties you have before attending your social setting.
- While observing, note your responses to the situations.
- Reflect with your spouse/partner on what you observed about yourself and others after the event.
Grab your free conversation starter for a peaceful holiday experience this year!
Stream “Dealing With the Holidays”
Your Next Steps:
Grab your freebie for fun conversation.
Join our email list for new episodes and articles.