Sometimes it’s fun just to be an observer. To pick a really busy place, somewhere you would normally run from, take a seat, and watch. You might find yourself noticing something fascinating you otherwise would not have noticed. Maybe something surprisingly beautiful or curious. In many cases, you may find yourself annoyed, thinking the world, and people, are plain nuts.
Maybe if the world contained just a fraction of your logic, everything would be much better?
While you may be 100% correct, the temptation can be to elevate yourself above those who you observe. To see yourself beyond the shenanigans and futile endeavors of the “masses.”
But is this really the case?
What if there was another observer? Someone watching YOU. Viewing you with a pen and paper, taking diligent notes. What would your day to day life look like to someone else? Would your actions (or inactions) be unlike those you loathe in others? Are your emotions subject to the ebb and flow of less than ideal circumstances?
When I take time to play both the observer and the observed, I usually arrive at laughter. Because what I pretend I am, what I pretend I do, is much different than reality. I have idealized notions of myself that typically don’t stand up to the scrutiny of observing what actually is. It seems that worrying about how I want to project myself, while toiling and fantasizing over what I can become, makes me overlook what I am now. I often wonder if our personal stories are really self-serving delusions? Maybe our desires to change are a substitute for actual change? We are masters of self-deception.
The paradox here is that who we actually are may or may not be undesirable. Self-observation is not about beating yourself up if you haven’t achieved what you want, or if you haven’t become the person you want to be. It’s about self-acceptance as much as anything. It’s also about stripping away unnecessary goals. Goals that were really the expectations and projected fears of others. For example, maybe you thought you needed to change something, but the reality is, you like things the way they are.
The most difficult task may be in accepting that there are things about yourself that you have grown very tired of. And upon genuine observation, you realize you haven’t truly taken steps necessary to change this. Why lie to yourself? If nothing else, accept this. But experiment with being the observer, the person taking notes, watching your thoughts and actions. Try to apply the same keen eye you have for the contradiction and need for improvement in others, to yourself.