ACT and Self as Context, the Observer Self

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

Q: How can I stop being overwhelmed by what happens to me?

A: Develop your Observer Self.  Remember to stop, stand back, observe.

Image result for inspirational picture quotes the bigger picture

It can be difficult to remember that we are more than the content of our lives, to remember that there is another side, a powerful side of ourselves, that we can always access.  Self as Context, the Observer Self, is always there, always accessible, but content is powerful.  It can overwhelm us, sweep us away, have us believe that what happens to us is all that matters.

When we are embroiled in the content of our lives it is difficult to stop, stand back and observe.  Yet, this is what will make the difference.  If we want to get a wider perspective, if we want to stop reacting to everything that happens, good, bad and indifferent, then it is to Self as Context that we must turn.

ACT reminds us that we are more, much more than the content of our lives.  There is an enduring Self in all of us, an Observer Self that remains constant.  The more we access this side of ourselves, the less we will be overwhelmed by what happens to us.

It is not easy to stand up to the content of our lives, to say we won’t be pushed around by it, that we will take time to stop, stand back and observe.  In the heat of the moment it seems natural to react to what is going on, but there is power in the pause.  In that pause we can access that wiser side that is in all of us.  And that can make all the difference.

I wrote “I AM THE SEA, I CANNOT SINK” to remind me of that.


  • Do you remember to stop, stand back and observe what is happening to you?
  • Are you able to make a distinction between your Self as Content and our 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.






I am the sky and not the clouds that for a time the skies engrave,

For I remain when they have cleared, I am the ocean not the wave,

For I am here through thick and thin, and big enough to welcome in whatever’s in my path today,

So, I’ll accept it come what may.

And I’ll not occupy my mind with things it cannot understand,

The skies aren’t bothered by the clouds, and oceans care not where waves land,

And though it’s hard to comprehend this starring role in which I’m cast,

When waves and storms come crashing through, I know it’s true they will not last.

For we are so much larger than the bits of content temporary,

The clouds cannot the sky eclipse and waves cannot drown out the sea.

And so, whatever comes my way I will remember I am sky,

And though at times I am obscured, the thunderclouds will pass me by,

And though the waves may stir me up, and I’m presented with a cup I’d rather far not have to drink,

I am the sea, I cannot sink.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “I AM THE SEA, I CANNOT SINK” 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 …..

I don’t usually recommend one of my own posts in this section but on this occasion I am going to!

I don’t find the concepts of Self as Context, the Observer Self, easy to get a handle on.  As such, it is a topic that I return to frequently.  So when I was looking for a resource to recommend here I was surprised to find one of my own posts pop up.  I’ll take that as a sign that it’s worth sharing again.

For more on Self as Context, the Observer Self, head over to and read what I had to say back then aboutGORY LITTLE STORIES”.  I hope you enjoy it.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

lf as 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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