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What World Are YOU Living In?

“What world are you living in?” It’s an expression most often used when one person's ‘map’ doesn’t match up with our ‘map’ or with the actual territory.

Confused yet? Let me explain.

“The map is not the territory” is a metaphor used to illustrate the difference between the actual world and our understanding of the world as we perceive it based on the filters of deletion, distortion and generalization that our brains apply to it (more on that in upcoming newsletters). The ‘map’ is our understanding of the ‘territory’ of reality, and we must be careful to remember that the map is not the territory!

Let’s look at an example. Imagine you’re driving somewhere you’ve never been before. It’s common practice to use a map, right? Let’s pretend this map you are using is an old school paper map versus the GPS’s of today. As you drive, you notice that the map shows that you will soon be arriving to your destination. Just one more road to turn down before you can get out of the car and stretch your tired legs! As you get closer to the road you are supposed to take, you notice it isn’t there! Your map shows the road, but it’s just not there - your map must be outdated!

It’s clear what the difference between your map and the territory is. Your map is simply a representation of what someone else thought the land looked like and the territory is the reality we must deal with (there is no road!). We know that just because our map shows the road, that doesn't mean the road exists. Similarly, grabbing your pen out of the glove box and drawing a road onto your map doesn't magically make a road appear in real life!

The idea of maps vs territory extends into a metaphor for the differences between our beliefs and reality itself. Reality exists outside our minds, but we all carry around maps of this ‘territory’. We draw these maps of reality based on the information we take in through our senses.

It is important to remember that changing the map doesn’t change the territory. When we were driving, there was no point in changing the map to what we wanted to be true. Even if we wanted a road, changing the map doesn’t magically make it appear! But we make these sorts of mistakes all the time when it comes to our beliefs. Having a false belief is like having a map of the world that doesn’t correspond to the territory - it’s pretty useless!

Instead of trying to change our map to what we want, we should edit our maps so they’re as closely aligned with the territory as possible. An accurate view of reality puts us in a better place to take effective action and being flexible enough to recognize when our maps are outdated allows us to realize that others are working with outdated maps too.

So what can we do when we realize (or even if we don’t realize) that we are working with an outdated map? Whenever a problem presents itself, just ask yourself questions like “Is this problem real, or is there an error on my map?”, “Is the information I am looking at in full view or do I need to zoom in (or zoom out) to get a better picture?”, and “Am I seeing this correctly or is the map upside down or on the wrong page?” Taking a moment to step back and look at the territory (reality) can give you a whole new perspective … and fix the errors on your map too!

It's a super simple exercise, stopping and asking yourself a few questions before proceeding. It’s kind of like stopping and asking for directions only you're asking yourself.

I hope you found this incredibly simple exercise helpful. Send me an email ( with your thoughts! And remember to check out my favorite things below!


My Favorite Things!

Essential Oils and Emotions: Cardamom - The Oil of Objectivity!

Cardamom helps individuals to regain objectivity, mental sobriety, and self-control. It is especially beneficial for individuals with a long history of anger or aggression, which often becomes directed outward and for those who hyperfocus on their problems, especially their frustrations.

Addresses emotions of anger, rage, argumentative, frustrated, generational issues, blaming of others and supports mental clarity, self-control, respect, tolerance and patience.


Healing Through Journaling

During my 4.5 year relationship with a narcissistic man, it was a huge help for me to jot down my reality (my map) as a reference for when the reality he tried reflecting on me didn't match my own. Keeping a journal helped me to keep reality in check, kept me sane and, inevitably, gave me the strength I needed to leave.

These 3 mini notebooks are a visual reminder every time you open them that your "map is not the territory"!

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