Observe, Not Absorb.

By: Jen Shoop

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To the women out there who are weighed down by more than their own burdens,

who carry the weight of others,

who listen to their loved ones and drink in their sorrows, and find themselves sunken in the center because of it,

or who experience unkindnesses and question themselves, and feel drawn down by criticism or dismissal,

one expression that I have been returning to:

observe, not absorb.

It feels at first like putting up an unfeeling wall, or like handling precious matter with gloved hands, but I am convinced that it is an essential ingredient in living fully.

While in observing mode, you can still wrap your arms around a loved one, and say all the right things, and listen with your full heart, and you can still feel temporarily put off or hurt by others — you are not desensitized or denuded of your full range of empathy — but you begin to learn to deal with darkness rather than letting it in.


+Meanwhile, the world goes on.

+The letter my husband wrote me that broke my heart (in a good way).

+Love at work.

Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+This award-winning, $18 “caffeine eye cream” is on its way to me.

+One thing I didn’t mention in my Tulum packing list was a plain white gauze cover-up that I bought from Michael Stars two years ago. It is my absolute favorite thing ever — goes with everything and so, so soft. They no longer sell it in my length but they do have these gauze pant and shirt sets and I have the flamingo pink color set in my cart. If you are looking for a cover-up similar to mine, Alice Walk has one VERY similar. I also own the Alice Walk longer-length gauze dress and it’s a dream. I love it so much that I wore it the day after we got back from Tulum around the house, even though it was 35 degrees outside.

+Final note on gauze: I also own and LOVE this white gauze top from Xirena. I’m telling you, you will want to wear it every single day. It’s SO soft (like a brushed t-shirt) but looks a little dressier than a tee. A fantastic wardrobe investment. Does run a tad short so avoid if you’re on the taller side.

+Love these slightly exaggerated shoulder tees from Target, especially in black, tan, white. Tuck into high-waisted denim for a different look. While we’re talking Target, they just launched their own denim midi! You know I was big on this trend last summer. The darker denim wash is selling fast but I kind of love the colored denim option? Imagine with a simple white tee and leather sandals, or a denim button down?

+If you have been eyeing the $850 HighSport kick flares with envy but no intention of ever pulling the trigger, you might be interested in this less expensive ribbed style from Donni that gets rave reviews. I like the idea of pairing these kinds of pants with a striped button down and great ballet flats.

+Four GREAT button-down options for this look: this Rag & Bone (silky and so chic and I love the saturated blue color); Sezane’s Tomboy (the green and white stripe is in my cart); Alex Mill’s Jo; and J. Crew’s new Etienne shirt.

+Now that we know Taylor Swift will be in the stands at the Super Bowl…who else is more interested in tuning in? Ha. These plates would be cute for a Super Bowl party.

+A great voluminous dress for padding around the house. Pair with gold hoops and bare feet for effortless-chic cocktails at home with friends. Would be great while pregnant, too!

+This dramatic Barbie pink coat is perfection.

+Obsessed with these silver-striped Sambas (sold out everywhere, but you can find on StockX). J. Crew also has some cool silver sneaks on offer! More fun casual sneaks here.

+Crayola got into the Magnatile game and they look VERY cute.

+These lamps are gorgeous.

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4 thoughts on “Observe, Not Absorb.

  1. Jen, I’m in a season of life that feels rather heavy, and your post was exactly what I needed. Thank you!

  2. I like this concept, observe not absorb. I recently learned of the terms highly sensitive person back in late November on a presentation on finding Joy and reclaiming peace. I’m still learning about this concept and it isn’t necessarily a negative thing. I definitely fit this definition in many ways, as I tend to absorb and also project. I don’t share easily either and it’s like pulling teeth without anaesthesia for me to tell my closest and nearest and dearest what is really going on. Anways good food for thought! I like the flamingo pink and am tempted to pair with the green…thanks again Jen for validating how I feel and what life is throwing at me this month!

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