Book: Reflections

Reflections - bringing attention to your daily life by Désirée Steinmann

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Reflections of the Week

How not to get stressed by family members, friends and other people in the Xmas time? Part 4 – Become the observer!

2012-12-14 19:58 (comments: 0)

Have you ever had a lively discussion, or even an argument with somebody and you had an impression that what was being said was in fact different from the discussed subject?  The famous toothpaste cap which caused a divorce? Very often we get locked into an argument and we get entrenched in our positions and meanwhile the arguments and positions we are defending are very different from those in the discussion itself.

In a situation like this, change of perspective can be very useful.

It is almost like stepping out of the situation and looking at it from above. Just try to observe and understand from this neutral position what exactly is going on, without judgement or assessment.

Step 1

What is really going on in me? What feelings get stirred up? What effect do these feelings have on me? What values, needs or fears are being ignored or provoked? These are the things which should be discussed. They should be communicated in “I-messages”, e.g. “I feel I’m being neglected at the moment and I need more closeness”, not: “You can’t always keep the distance, you should be involved more often!”.

Step 2

Once you have honestly evaluated your own feelings and positions, you should do the same with your partners feelings and positions. You need to go beyond their words and analyze their real meaning and with that, your partner’s intentions, feelings, their pain and their needs. At this stage you could use the technique of clarifying which we discussed last week. Clarify, again with the “I-messages” what you are observing: “It seems to me that you need more time for yourself, or do you rather need more relaxation?” Or: “I think we aren’t able to have a constructive discussion right now. What isn’t working right now from your point of view?”.

The observer has the necessary distance to see what is being said between the lines and what real needs, values or fears are hiding behind the words. Once these are identified, the real discussion can take place and then it will be easier for observer to listen and to understand.

I wish you now a very harmonious and relaxing Christmas time and I hope that with the techniques from the last four newsletters you are well prepared not to be upset by other people and to keep your balance. Enjoy the gifts of friendship, affection, individuality and the positive emotions. I’m sending you my best wishes and I look forward to another year with the Reflections and to the motivating Facebook inspirations and emails from you all!




I’m not wise. I try to observe. Millions had seen an apple fall, but Newton was the only one who asked why.


Bernard Baruch


If you want to really get to know a man, you must observe him in his family.


Wilhelm Johannes Oehler


Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.


Dalai Lama



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