Short post here. I recently completed wrote about Socratic questioning as a powerful tool in therapy. In depression, people have difficulty understanding that the way they view the world is a choice. Or rather, there are thousands of possible and dozens of plausible explanations for anything that happens to you. Depression makes it feel like negative explanations (you were ignored because someone doesn’t like you) seem more likely than positive or neutral explanations (you were ignored because someone didn’t see you). The explanations we come up with often reflect how we feel at any given moment, and we can’t say with certainty whether those explanations reflect reality.
This video interpretation of a David Foster Wallace commencement speech, “This Is Water,” does a good job explaining perspective as a choice.
We may never know for certain why a stranger behaves unpleasantly in a checkout line, but the next time you see someone “getting in your way,” try to remember that sometimes it’s better for your mental health to take a deep breath and give that person the benefit of the doubt. I’m giving myself a mental reminder to do the same–it’s not easy, especially when I find someone frustrating or rude.
Check out my original post if you’re curious on how therapists and clients work together to use choice and perspective to challenge depressed thinking.