Tool: Using Third Person

A nice and effective tool for keeping the big picture in mind and seeing the forest and not just the trees is using the third person. And who would you describe with the third person? Yourself! For instance, let’s say I find myself getting angry about something that happens, like the internet isn’t working properly while I try to write a blog post about not getting angry when the internet goes down. Remember that we all have certain things that tend to push our buttons more than others. Many people call these triggers.

If I’m sitting there trying to solve the internet problem without addressing the anger, it’ll just keep rising. Remember that a feeling like anger is much easier to deal with when there’s just a little bit of it. I’ve always written here that the first thing we want to do is stop everything else we’re doing so that we can release the feeling before continuing the task at hand. What I’m writing about now is just a little addition to that. You always want to stop, close your eyes, take a breath, and let go of the anger. If it helps, you can also tell yourself in the middle of that releasing process, “Ashley is angry that the internet is not working properly.” This might help snap you out of it, making the whole thing seem less personal. You were staring at a tree from a few inches away, and now you’re up in the sky looking at the whole forest. You had forgotten about the forest, and now you remember. Third person can be pretty powerful.

Of course we’re all different, so this will work for some and not for others. That’s why I write about as many tools and techniques as I can. Even just one good one can change your life and speed up your journey to peace. If this sounds like the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard of, then that’s fine – it’s not for you! If it’s a fit, though, it can be downright profound. It makes the whole situation less personal right away in just one sentence.

Another reason why this can be powerful is that the person you think you are, like “Ashley” in my case, is temporary. And the spiritual teachers say that the truth of who you are is anything but temporary. This means you’re not really that person after all – you’re spirit that seems to be in a body for some period of time, long or short. If all this is true, then saying or thinking “Ashley is angry” is more accurate than “I am angry.” We don’t talk like this because it sounds ridiculous, though. I’m not saying to talk like this all the time, but it might help to experiment with it internally when things are going south.

Remember that the whole point is for you to live at peace. Using third person to describe yourself might just help you do that. It’s a simple tool that works well with the releasing and letting go that we’ve talked about here at A Clean Mind. It takes no time. So give it a try when you’re not feeling so hot. It really puts things in perspective. And no, the internet did not go out while I was writing this blog post…