ACT and Looking for Answers – Self as Context

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  When I don’t know which way to turn, who should I turn to?

A:   Yourself.  Turn to your Self as Context.


One of the core processes of ACT is Self as Context, and it is perhaps the most difficult to get to grips with.  Why?  Because it is a concept that is unfamiliar to many of us.  We get so embroiled in the content of our lives, the things that happen, the feelings and emotions that pass through us, that we find it difficult to get past all that to another sense of Self.

It is hard to define Self as Context in a way that makes sense to us and yet the word “sense” is a good starting point.  The word “sense” gives us a clue to what Self as Context is, and where we are likely to find it.

We get a glimpse, a sense of Self as Context, through our senses.  When we stop thinking and start sensing then we get a notion of what it’s all about.  When we are struck dumb by something awesome in Nature, we are glimpsing our Sense as Context, when we get goose-bumps or the hairs of our head stand on end we are in touching distance of our Sense as Context.  These are clues that there is this other part of ourselves.

Another way to understand our Self as Context is as that part of ourselves that is pure awareness.  When we are thinking, judging, planning, analysing, we are in our Thinking Mind.  This is not Sense as Context.  When we are caught up in the content of our lives, the stuff that comes and goes, moment by moment, day by day, we are experiencing our lives as Self as Content.  This is not Self as Context.

Self as Context is bigger than the bits of content that we experience.  When we experience our lives from the position of Self as Context our lives feel different.  We are not swept away by what happens to us because we are standing back and are able to observe it more dispassionately.  We are using our senses to just experience what is right here, right now, without judging it.  We are willing to experience it, whatever it is, just as it is.

From this viewpoint, the viewpoint of Self as Context, we are something more than what happens to us.  This is another part of our Self, and it is powerful.  The more we become aware of it, the wiser and more tranquil we will become.  It is not easy but it is so worth the effort of discovery.  What do we find there?  A wiser I.

Self as Content and Self as Context both reside in us.  If we feel overwhelmed by what is happening to us, this is the very time to try to see the bigger picture, to turn to Self as Context.  When we are looking for answers and do not know which way to turn, let’s remember Self as Context is always there.  We have many of our own answers, no-body knows us better than ourselves.

There is a Wiser I in all of us.  Its name is Self as Context.  It has seen it all before!

I wrote “A WISER I” to remind me of that.


  • Are you able to stand back from the content of your life?
  • Do you have a sense of this other side of you, this Self as Context?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.






Sometimes there is confusion, there is so much going on,

That we’re caught up in the maelstrom of what’s coming or what’s gone,

And for now, it’s all chaotic, and our mind’s chaotic too,

What we crave is a Director telling us what we should do.

But the truth is no Director’s going to know us well enough

To produce for us solutions, they’re not privy to the stuff

That has brought us to this juncture, where we are floundering now,

They may offer us suggestions, but they cannot tell us how

We should implement them skilful, nor how we can pick and choose

From the smorgasbord before us what we will discard or use,

And although chaos confronts us, in the end it’s good to know

That when we seek out direction we do not have far to go.

For we are our own Director, one that’s always ours to find

When we look beyond the turbulence that’s stirring up our mind,

And when we create some distance, in the spaces we will see

That beside the I demanding, there’s a wiser I in me.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “A WISER I “ please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Perhaps because I find it the most difficult of the core processes in ACT to get a handle on, Self as Context, engages me quite a lot.

I wrote another post about it a while ago, entitled, not surprisingly,  ACT and Self as Context!  Head over and take a look if you want to learn a bit more about this most challenging but powerful of concepts.

When I feel that my own life is getting out of hand, or that I am allowing myself to be swept away by what is happening to me, the content of my life, I know that making contact with my own Self as Context will help me.  I hope it does the same for you.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes


Published by

Corinne Shields

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, erstwhile teacher for thirty plus years, and permanent student. I have long been interested in psychology and spirituality and enjoy writing inspirational poetry. Hence the publication of this blog at ACT Made I play golf badly, piano a little better and I love reading, writing, and all things French. I divide my time between Wales and France and enjoy travelling with my husband, Len and my dog Charlie.

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