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Sitting back and observing

Our families are often touch points to trigger us into reaction. Someone in the family can comment about our failings, our less-than-successes, or perhaps they can be harsh - before we know it, we are there with our boxing gloves on and fighting back. We may think the punch-back was justified, that we had to stand up for ourselves, that we couldn't let them get away with that comment etc. But where did it get us? We reduced ourselves to a family at war or getting comfortable with the intensity


What is the difference between diving head-first into our reactions and sitting back and observing what we see?  


Sitting back and observing is not a physical movement where you throw your hands up in the air and give up – that is a reaction as well and one that is a familiar go-to as we start looking at not reacting.  

Observing is a movement of detachment that offers space for everyone to just make their own choices without expectation or imposition. Whatever will play out thereafter will play out, but at least we all get to see the consequences of our choices. If we offer each other more space, then things are less likely to be done or said that are regretted later.  


Looking back at arguments, there are always things that could have been done or said differently, yet when we are in them, it’s like someone takes away our sense of reasoning and we throw ourselves head-first into justification, right and wrong, good and bad - no space whatsoever for listening or learning. 


If we can get to know the pattern and observe what ‘triggers’ us into those familiar patterns, then a small movement of observation can offer a whole different potential for communication in our relationships. 


To observe, or dive into being a family at war is always a choice. The 'sitting-back' movement says, ‘I am not playing that game anymore; even if I am ‘wrong’ I’m staying steady with myself and learning the outplay of whatever is going on here so I can do it differently next time’.  


We all benefit from being willing to take responsibility for our own behaviour.  


Sitting back and observing is a really practical response to the situations in life we find ourselves reacting to. It creates space for us all to come back to responsibility, decency and respect - the very basic foundations of communication. It allows space for us to feel that we don’t need to be at war with each other in our families but can respond to each situation that presents.  


Reacting is always a choice 

Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay


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