What’s Your Worldview? And Is It Shaping Your View Of You, Too?
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.
That’s a long way to see in…
But the thing about windows is that they work both ways. So they’re not just about seeing into; they’re also about seeing out of. (Or not).
And that’s sort of what happens with another kind of window – your “worldview”. It’s also like a window, but one that frames what you see in the world, and how you see it. It influences what you imagine exists. What meaning you make of it all.
So it can also shape how you react to that world.
And who you become.
It can feel so ‘normal’ to just look at the view from our window, that we forget to see the window, itself. Forget to wonder if it’s framing things as clearly or supportively (or perhaps even ‘objectively’) as it might. Forget to question if it’s in the right place, or if it could use a bit of renovating. Forget to notice what our window’s actually like, or whether, like the closed window in the photo above, we might sometimes open the curtains a bit more often to expand our understanding of the world.
So how long is it since you’ve checked out your window to the world?
How long since you’ve even noticed your worldview?
And how might it unwittingly be shaping who you are?
First, let’s get a bit clearer on what we’re talking about here.
Emmy van Deurzen, world renown existential psychotherapist, writes:
“We cannot help but have certain beliefs and ideas about how everything in life fits together. This is our worldview. It orients us in the world, defines our attitudes towards it and allows us to create meaning.”
So what kind of meaning are you making? (Of the world. Of yourself.)
For instance, if your world seems quite a scary place, where you believe others can’t be trusted or are ‘out to get you’ somehow, how might that impact things?
Maybe it could seem ‘safer’ to simply withdraw from the world. To minimise the risk of being hurt by connecting with people as little as possible. To stay a bit of a lone wolf.
Of course, there might have been some very painful experiences you lived through, where you were scared or where someone couldn’t be trusted. That’s important to honour. Yet it can also be important to see if those experiences have been allowed to colour your whole view of things from that point forward – to find out if they might be costing you even more now than they did then. And to find out what you might want to do about that.
Or if your world seems a place of scarcity, like there’s just not enough to go around somehow, maybe you might be tempted to stockpile against that feeling. So whether it’s about collecting friends, or possessions, or looking for love wherever you can get it, you might be tempted to just hang on to things. And maybe still feel an underlying sense of lack…a kind of thirst that can’t be quenched.
Or if the world seems to you to be about ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, how might that impact who you are in that world? Do you strive at all costs to prove your worth by ‘winning’ (no matter who else you might ‘have’ to trample on to get there)? Or do you just ‘accept’ that you’ll ‘never be any good’?
These are just a couple of examples. And there are thousands upon thousands more. In fact, maybe there are as many worldviews as there are people to build those views…
So what’s yours like at the moment?
How is it framing not just the view – but you?
And are there ways you might like to shift some of that? Invite other dimensions in? Or maybe open the curtains a little wider…?
Reference: Deurzen, E and Adams, M (2011) Skills in Existential Counselling & Psychotherapy, Sage Publications, London, p.20.
Photo: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar – this photo captures part of a huge street art mural in King St, Newtown, Sydney.
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2011). What’s Your Worldview? And Is It Shaping Your View Of You, Too?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/2011/05/whats-your-worldview-and-is-it-shaping-your-view-of-you-too/