I asked a friend to read the draft of my first Moodscope blog, after having proofread it myself multiple times. She pointed out that I had made a glaringly obvious typo. In my mind, I had typed the correct information so it didn't even register in my brain that it was wrong, despite having reading it out loud to myself. This made me think about how we so often either see what we want to see or imagine what is right in front of our eyes, rather than what is actually there.
Depression is often associated with phrases such as 'black and white thinking' and 'catastrophizing'. A large part of the illness consists of the unhelpful ways in which we think and how we view the world. We need to take the time and effort to step back and take a fresh look around us to assess whether we are really registering and interpreting our surroundings correctly.
At the weekend, I went to see the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery. The Impressionists were influential in the art world, changing the way in which artists recorded the world onto canvas. They were met with much disdain but ignored the criticisms and are now regarded as some of the greatest artists of all time. Monet tended to paint scenes and landscapes, using brushwork and colour to create a visual representation of what he saw rather than a faithful like for like recording. His work was much more about ideas arising from immersing himself in his environment.
One painting which really struck and overawed me in the gallery was La Rue Montorgueil. This painting depicts a national holiday, with crowds in the street and masses of French flags practically obscuring the buildings. I initially viewed the painting from a distance, noting the vibrant colours and the detailed crowd. However, upon closer inspection, I was very surprised to see that the individuals in the crowd were mere brush marks and bore no resemblance to human beings at all. Apart from admiring Monet's genius in being able to create a realistic human representation with a mere flick of a brush, I became aware of how things appear differently depending on our perspective. Had I not taken a closer look, I would not have appreciated his artistic genius and had I only looked closely, I would have missed the overall amazing composition.
To improve the quality of our lives, we need to learn to stop and take stock of where we are and how we view the world, our relationships, thoughts, and interpretations. Are we missing what is staring us straight in the face? Can we step back and gain a new perspective on what we thought we already knew? Maybe there are multiple permutations and new ways of seeing things if we continually view the world with a fresh pair of eyes.
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