“The slender threads of causality are rewoven and reinterpreted as we attempt to explain to ourselves and others how we became the people we are.”
There is no doubting that our past influences our present state. Counsellors and psychologists worldwide are familiar with the impact, influence and often ongoing unexamined integration ones family of origin (FOO) has on why we as individuals act the way we do. We long for meaning. We long for connection. We long for authenticity, to be.
So here’s my take on this chapter on illogical logic: Paradigms prohibit personal growth; possibilities prioritise personal growth.
Welcome to week 2 of this blog series. For those who missed week 1 you can check out If the map is wrong and if you’d like to know the context that led to doing this series you can read Mid-Career Confidence Crash.
“We are not what we think, or what we say, or how we feel. We are what we do.” Livingston states this simple profound and pertinent truth.
He does so after drawing out the reality of his psychiatric experience where people would come to him seeking medication as a quick fix for their mood, mental health or mere boredom with life. They primarily wanted to minimise the pain, downplay the depression and despair, or desperation for the capacity to better manage their own emotions & thoughts as they battle unsatisfying daily routines.
His message: “The good news is that we have effective treatments for the symptoms of depression; the bad news is that medication will not make you happy. Happiness is not simply the absence of despair. It is an affirmative state in which our lives have both meaning and pleasure.”
Livingston opens with an account of his days serving as a lieutenant in the army. Whilst studying a map he’s asked by his platoon sergeant if he’d located where they were yet. “Well, the map says there should be a hill over there but I don’t see it.” His response caused Livingston to recognise he’d heard a profound truth: “If the map don’t agree with the ground, then the map is wrong.”
He goes on to highlight that “over the many years I have spent listening to people’s stories, especially all the ways in which things can go awry, I have learned that our passage through life consists of an effort to get the maps in our heads to conform to the ground on which we walk.” Continue reading