“Self-distancing” is the ability to stand outside one’s self and gain perspective, to in essence take a psychological “time-out”. It’s your mother’s “count to 10 before you say/do anything” but with a modern psychological twist: you not only walk away from your heated emotions, you also put some distance between you and you. You and you? Yes, we all talk with ourselves in our heads. Designate one of those voices to be your observer, your coach, your analyst, your Spock if you will. Or pick whatever sage or wise one that you can relate to; a version of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) if you will. My father was one of the kindest, most patient, altruistic people I’ve ever known; I’ve sometimes asked myself: What Would Dad Do?
The key to the concept is the knowledge that we do have the ability and the freedom to distance ourselves from ourselves and use that perspective to gain insight and awareness. Simple awareness of that ability is the first step. If you find yourself having said or done things in hot states that you later regret, simply rewind the tape in your head and vividly imagine yourself handling the situation differently/better. As you practice in retrospect, you will get better in real time as well.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl, 1905-1997
“Stress is not an event but rather a learned reaction to an event. Frame it differently and it can become interesting energy.” – NSC
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier