FREE RELATIONSHIP ADVICE–YOUR MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY

More under the heading of free relationship advice:

“Your map is not the territory” is a way of saying that what you think is reality ain’t necessarily so.  What you call reality is a map you have been constructing over time in your mind. It is made up of mental imagery, words, remembered smells, and emotions. it is a hologram you have built in your head that you experience as “reality”. It works well enough generally to keep you alive and get many of your needs met.

What’s this got to do with love?  

Great question! Your ideas of a love relationship make sense to you because you are the one that constructed them. When we meet others, we are attracted to folks that have maps we believe to be similar to our own.  It takes time to get to know those maps because we need to see the other person in a variety of social contexts to  determine his beliefs about the world and how he lives and interacts with others.

Ethics, A Frequently Forgotten Word!

The definition of ethics, according to dictionary.com is  the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.”

What does your map of reality say the rules are for right and wrong?  Where did you get those ideas from? Who first spoke them to you and why did you believe them? A Greek philosopher of old said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Why would he say that? Because frequently we base decisions on ideas or beliefs that we picked up from others without thinking them through.  When we come together with others, frequently there is conflict between people’s maps or ideas about right and wrong, good and evil, productive vs. unproductive, or moral vs. immoral behavior.

So, often, when two people fall in love, they are focused on the other’s attractiveness and external responses.  Frequently, too little thought is given to exploring the other’s deepest beliefs about life and rules of relationship conduct before we fling our hearts at them.. Each of us have our own rules about how we are supposed to interact with others and how they are supposed to treat us. If the ethics differ from our own, we can wind up deeply wounded when we find out the heartbreaking differences between us and our unique  “map” of reality.

Please share your thoughts on this subject and ask questions in the comments section below.  I will get back to you quickly if you have a desire for more information.

 

  1. I love this topic. I have been nursing for over 30 years and am still astounded by relationships and how people stay together through thick and thin. I guess the little things don’t matter so much if the big picture is sound.

    1. Thank you Megan! I really appreciate you taking the time.
      By the way, I worked in the VA Hospital for 20 years. I grew to love nurses for their selfless service and ongoing care for the patients. Thanks for what you do! My daughter is a nurse practitioner and she loves her profession! Good on the both of you!

  2. More people should seek relationship advice before their vows. Marriage doesn’t have a good track record anymore. My parents were married over 60 years before my mom passed, was it easy heck no! But they stuck it out, I’m glad they did.

  3. A very philosophical approach to examining what “love” is. Do you think that you can truly fall in love with another person before finding out whether your reality maps differ? I think the process of working through those differences, and willingness on both sides to work through those things is also a factor and can determine whether or not a relationship will last. Are there any books you can recommend to read more about reality maps?

    1. Hi Valerie.
      Some people apparently do fall in love without really examining their relationship. As a counselor, I have dealt with people who have behaved quite impulsively in the initial stages of their love relationships. The proverb “fools rush in where wise men fear to tread” comes to mind.
      As for reality map concepts, I recommend the book Structure of Magic Volume I by Bandler and Grinder as a good place to start.
      Thanks for the feedback and the great questions!

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