After learning to Observe we learn to put words on an experience.
We did a little of that in the chair exercise but the main point was to become aware of how to practice simple Observation.
When you put words on an experience you Describe an experience with words. The practice of putting words on an experience is not judging an experience.
When you Describe you use non judgemental statements to communicate what is happening at that moment.
If you are presently walking you might say “Step, Step, Step”. Or if you are driving you might say ” My hands are on the wheel. The wheel is firm and cool”…or “Turning, Turning”.
The key is to recognize what you are doing in the very moment you’re doing it and to Describe your actions in the most basic way without judgemental words (highly charged descriptive words and adjectives).
Let’s say your sad. You would say ” A feeling of sadness has come over me”. This way you won’t get caught up in your feeling.
One of the most famous sayings I learned from DBT is quote..” A thought is just a thought, a feeling just a feeling.”
Sometimes we have thoughts that are overwhelming. Like “There is no way I can do this”. When using Describe you would say..” A thought of ‘There is no way I can do this’ has come through my mind”. Again you are putting distance between you and the thought that may create a strong emotional pull that gets you caught up in Emotional Mind…where you can’t see the truth as clearly.
Another great visual learned in DBT is the emotional snowball effect. Emotions can “snowball” when not properly acknowledged. A great example is the commercial on TV where a snowball starts small and just keeps growing so large that it takes out the neighbor man’s car at work. When we get “caught up in the content”(descriptive adjectives (judgemental words) this can prompt further emotional responses that can obscure the reality of a situation. We have trouble seeing clearly when we are caught up in Emotional Mind. Emotions, which are natural and valid, want to be acknowledged and to run their course. We need to know what that course entails and where the function of emotion starts and stops.
So why not try the chair exercise (underneath the Seeing Deeply post) and use purposefully use Observe with Describe.
It doesn’t hurt to keep refreshing. Go back to The Learning to See post if needed.
Wishing you well this day~
The Mindful Gatekeeper