Moodscope's blog

18

March


The Map is Not the Territory Wednesday March 18, 2020


My daughter passed her driving test just a few weeks ago. She is keen to get more driving practise, but understandably a bit anxious too.

Last Thursday we drove up to Edinburgh, a journey of six hours, plus breaks, so she could attend an offers day at the University. It's a straight-forward journey; just find the A1 and keep going.

We shared the driving – or that was the plan. She took over at the Ferrybridge services, where the M62 crosses the A1. It was a miserable evening, with strong winds making the high-sided vehicles wobble erratically, and that nasty drizzle which is just too much for the intermittent setting on the wipers, but not enough for the regular setting; so the annoying squeak of rubber on glass was added to her stress.

She's a competent and careful driver, but – even so – the conditions and her inexperience meant she made a couple of mistakes. No harm was done; she wasn't even flashed by other drivers, or hooted at, but she was very upset.

"Mummy, what must they think of me?" she wailed. "They're probably all swearing at me and calling me names!"

She drove for an hour and then, very thankfully, returned the wheel to me.

"What other people will think," is something that concerns many of us. We don't want to offend, or to behave in a way which will make people think less of us. We want to keep in good standing with our neighbours, colleagues and friendship groups.

But we don't know what they're thinking at all. Very often, they are so busy thinking of their own concerns, they have no space to think about us.

Our "map" of what we think they are thinking is based on our own experiences. My daughter imagines other drivers will be calling her unpleasant names because her father is impatient with any kind of bad driving. Not everyone is like that.

We are so often surprised by what others think – because they don't think like us.

We build a map of how we think the world works, based on our own experiences but that map is frequently inaccurate – and never more so than when it predicts the thoughts and reactions of others.

We are not mind readers; we cannot know what is in another's mind. Even if we are lovers, longing to explore the deepest hopes and dreams of our loved ones, we can't.

Philip Larkin wrote:

If my darling were once to decide
Not to stop at my eyes,
But to jump, like Alice, with floating skirt, into my head...

He goes on to describe how his head is not filled with what she would expect, but with something far less pleasant.

I hope our minds are nicer places than his "Monkey-brown, fish grey, string of infected circles," but our minds are a mystery to others, and theirs a mystery to us.

We think we know what they're thinking, but we never do.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


Permalink  |  Blog Home

Comments

Comments are viewable only by members. Register Now to participate in the discussion.

Already have an account? Login to leave a comment.

There are 59 comments so far.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive

Disclaimer

Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2020. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.