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O (Part 3)- Observation: On The Outside

Stop Sign
O is for Objective Outside Observation

Congratulations on getting this far in the S.T.O.P. process.  This tool can be used in any situation where we are feeling emotionally triggerd and will help you to lose your reactivity and be able to process your emotions and respond in a way that is real and helpful.  To recap this process, first we have S- Slowed Down, then noticed our T- Trigger Moment, taken O- Ownership and O- Observed Ourselves on the inside, it is time to O- Observe on the Outside.

O is for Objective Outside Observation

Although there are quite a few steps to S.T.O.P. when we get familiar with them, starting with slowing down and going step-by-step through this process, it really can be done in an instant.  It is like riding a bike.  At first it takes a lot of practice.  Deliberate movement.  Pushing down the pedal, while balancing, and moving forward can seem overwhelming and scary at first, but once you do it a few times, it becomes a thoughtless process.  The same is true for this.  And the benefits are overwhelming.  It allows you to approach life differently, where the main goal becomes inner growth when challenges present themselves, rather than first controlling the outside or reacting to it.

So in the past you may have jumped in and tried to control the outside circumstances when you felt angry, frustrated or overwhelmed but now we will start responding through our observation of the outside as part of our 5th step!  I like to think of it as Objective Observation of the Outside.  Which helps in detaching from the situation.

Is this situation H.O.T.?
Is this situation H.O.T.?

The first thing to consider is this situation H.O.T. which stands for Hungry Or Tired?  Look around is anyone involved Hungry Or Tired?  If this is the case STOP all futher steps and meet those needs first.  It is pointless to discipline a child when they are hungry.  It is impossible to talk to your spouse about something important when they are tired.  It is just plain dumb to expect anything of yourself when you feel HOT too.  Take care of basic needs first and understand that is the answer in this moment.  No need to be reactive, just respond to meet these needs first.

The second thing if the situation is not H.O.T. is to look at the situation as if you were a fly on the wall.  A good technique for doing this is to ask yourself questions in the third person.  Some examples might be:  What would a mother do whose children are running around the house yelling?  What are possible options to modify this sitaution?  What might a wife do whose husband is constantly late for dinner?  Might she make dinner later?  Might she eat dinner when it is ready and allow him to reheat his own when he arrives at home?  What might a person do who has been mistreated by a co-worker?  Might they speak up and talk about the problem?  Might they distance themselves?  What might a woman do who is trying to lose weight when they are at a party with a lot of unhealthy food options?  How might she handle herself?

This is all part of the Objective Observation of the Outside.  No need to do anything yet, asking questions and being that third person observer is all that is required of this step.  The final step P.- for Presence is where your response will come in to play.  Great job thus far!  Only one more step to go and you will be off riding your bike, never looking back!