The Maps we Create for Others

I wonder how many more years until the people who are being born will have no knowledge whatsoever of what a map is. Or maybe we have already arrived there.

When I moved to LA in 2006, I purchased a Thomas Guide. I wonder if anyone even uses them anymore.

Yet, one lens to look at the world is through the maps that we form in our mind.

For example, when I meet someone new, I have a first impression. A map begins to form in my mind of what I think about that person.

Then, if I continue to talk to them, the map changes shape as our conversations explore new territory.

And so we have a map of that person. This map includes assessments, judgements, interpretations, etc. of that person as seen from our perspective.

This can be resourceful – providing a foundation for exploring further…

It can also be incredibly crippling.

I confess that at times I have created a map in my mind of people and then held them in that map, choosing not to explore new territories of who that person could be.

Instead of seeing them with fresh eyes each day and being excited about possibility, I have at times put people in boxes, with thoughts such as, “that person is weird, makes stupid choices, will never change, etc.”…

And then completely closed down the possibility of connecting with that person in a new way. Affecting both myself and the other person involved (and potentially the lives of everyone we ever interact with in the future. ever.)

And I am tired of doing this.

I am committing to exploring.

This does not mean scrapping the map. As mentioned, it is a foundation for exploring.

I am committing to look at the map with new eyes, and to expand the map and add detail through journeying into new conversations, interrupting my judgements, being curious, and connecting at new levels with people.

One approach keeps me in bondage.

The other, freedom.