In the book, ‘Managing Depression with CBT’ (Brian Thomson and Matt Broadway-Horner) the authors say that when you’re depressed you usually believe that the world is a harsh, disappointing place, full of selfish people stepping over each other to get to the top, and that you can find a lot of evidence to support this view.
If, however, you believe that the world is a wonderful place full of interesting people and exciting opportunities, you can similarly find plenty of evidence to support this view too.
The fact is that both these views are true. Although it may sound strange, the world you live in is the world you imagine that you live in.
They go on with a story which for me was a bit of a lightbulb moment …. it is, as follows:
The Wisdom of Socrates
The Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates was walking one day when a stranger approached him and asked for advice. The man said that he was a blacksmith from a neighbouring village and was considering relocating to Athens. He asked Socrates whether he thought a move would be a good idea.
Socrates asked the man what it was like in the village he currently lived in. The man responded that he’d been very happy in his village, that everyone was friendly and looked out for each other, and that they lent a hand when necessary.
Socrates then confidently advised the man that he’d find the people in Athens exactly the same and that he’d be happy in Athens.
A few days later, another man approached Socrates as he walked through the marketplace. This man asked the same question, telling Socrates that he was a baker from a neighbouring village and was thinking of relocating to Athens.
Again Socrates asked what it was like in the man’s village. This man replied that he hated the village, that everyone poked their noses into everyone else’s business just looking for things to criticise or moan about.
Socrates confidently advised the man that he’d find the people of Athens exactly the same and there’d be little point in moving.
Socrates was wise enough to realise that, in a very real sense, we see the world that we expect to see.
To me, this truly resonates. In moving to Scotland I made a concerted effort to be open minded and wear my rose-tinted glasses and as a result have made some truly wonderful friends which was so completely unexpected.
I’d love to hear if anyone else has had this experience!
Happy Friday! It’s almost the weekend!