Stepping back to observe

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and forgiveness. And you can see forever.” ~Nancy Kerrigan

I was at a social gathering this evening that provided numerous situations and interactions that would normally have triggered my self-doubt and self-judgment, but I was able to stay in my observer-self mode tonight.

There were interactions that went well, and I enjoyed these without needing to make them into any defense of my worth or my social abilities. I simply enjoyed those while they lasted.

There were interactions that were awkward, and these were not as enjoyable but did not make me miserable either because I felt no need to take them as a commentary on my worth or my social abilities. I just observed these as they were occurring to watch what happened.

In both cases, it was as if I was standing slightly back from myself. I could notice that moment when my usual doubts and judgments and stories were about to kick in and send me down my usual patterns of reaction and choose not to go there today. Instead, I’d find myself observing those doubts and judgments and stories and comparing them to what was actually happening around me to try to decide whether I could prove they were really true (from The Work of Byron Katie).

In each case, I discovered that I could not prove that my story was true. In fact, I could usually find alternative stories that fit just as well (if not better) than the one I was telling myself. So in each case, I chose to let it go.

It was a healing experience to find that I could so easily choose how I was going to react (emotionally as well as externally). Granted, this was a fairly safe environment with no overtly ugly interactions of any kind, but it was still so freeing.

I enjoyed some of the conversation and the chance to see people who I haven’t seen in a while. The food was delightful and the laughter was welcome. I can honestly say that I would have enjoyed staying home more—or even having a one on one meeting with someone I enjoyed talking to—but I can even accept that this is how I am with no guilt and no judgment tonight.

I think I could get used to the freedom of a life without doubt and judgment. Perhaps that’s something for me to aim for!

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