Monday, March 20, 2017

Assumptions Will Lead To the Unexpected

An assumption is a thing that is accepted as true or something that is certain to happen, without any proof whatsoever. "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." This quote is attributed to Isaac Asimov, a Russian born American writer and biochemistry professor. In my opinion, very wise words, indeed.

How do you feel when others make assumptions about you? It happens to all of us, some of which make their way back to you through the grapevine gossip. It becomes hurtful that someone can think and then tell others what they believe to be true in their own minds without any fact base.  

Let's turn the question around and ask ourselves what about the assumptions we make about others? Oh, come on now! We all do it. Personally, I really try hard not to make quick assumptions about anyone. It is a part of human nature and shows an ugly side at times. Intellectually, I am aware that it is wrong and can be a dangerous thing. Presuming to know what motivates others to behave a certain way as if they are incapable of making the right decision for their own lives? Many relationships have been destroyed based on assumptions made by others.

In everyday life we make assumptions all the time. Sometimes we may actually be right. If you took the time to calculate them all, you would discover that more times than not the assumptions made are not correct. How can they be when you do not have any facts to work with?

The political atmosphere in the USA today is one BIG example of assumptions being made by both sides and everything in between. In the blink of an eye, the assumption is then in the news media. Sometimes it is the reporter who puts out a story without checking the facts. This is very poor journalism, not to mention unprofessional. The lessons taught in elementary school about fact or opinion did not stick with everyone.

The way to stay away from making assumptions is to work on good communication skills. Have the courage to ask questions. Some first hand examples of assumptions that were made about me are still carried around within my head. They don't overwhelm me, just reminders that until you walk in another's shoes, don't judge and make assumptions of other people's lives and choices.  

While still working in a supervisory type position, one person came up to me, not to question and ask about things that were being said about me. She was telling me what another person had started telling others about me as if it were true and it seemed as if she were trying to get my dander up so that I would go after this other person. She said that many people were around when this person stated that she did not know why I was still working. I had a husband who made plenty of money at his job, we drove fancy cars and lived in a huge home, wore expensive clothing, and the list went on and on. First question would be what my husband earns is no one's business and certainly nothing that I share with others. It is private. It was quite interesting in that she had no idea that a major decision was made by him that actually lowered what he made. As for driving fancy cars?  Fancy compared to a clunker?  A huge house compared to a tiny house?  Any home under 3,000 sq. feet is not considered a mansion. Nice clothes? Did she know about the word sales and a sense of style in putting the old with the new? Biggest assumption of all? She had no idea that we had a son that was going to college and not on a scholarship. We were paying. 

Some of the assumptions, I addressed with this person, who really was a pot stirrer, just wanting to stir up a little drama. Maybe she did or maybe she didn't go back with a few facts that knocked the assumptions out of the ballpark. Sometimes you just have to let it go.

You hear the stories all the time about how women get so very upset when their husbands don't "get it" when she did not communicate what the "it" was and the poor guy had to make an assumption about what she wanted. The word communicate comes into play again. Say what you want and mean what you say. Share with one another. Simply saying that you thought they should have known does not work, unless you married someone with a crystal ball or is a mind reader.

Have you ever looked at another person out in the public, such as a restaurant or a social event and saw tattoos all over their body or piercings? Instantly, most people come to a certain negative assumption. . It should not work that way. What I think is attractive does not mean that the person next to me will think the same thing is attractive and vice versa.    

There are a few things that I do when I catch myself making assumptions. I tell myself to just "Stop it." I realize that I do not know what this person thinks and that everyone does not think the same way. Instead, talk to the person, if it is appropriate. Engage in conversation about their style of dress code choices. Get another point of view. I have mine and others are allowed to have their own view, also. Who is to say which is wrong and which is right? 

When you go directly to the person and talk about differences and assumptions, you may find yourself very surprised.  The worst thing that could happen is that you are told to go mind your own business. It is much better and healthier for you to attempt communication and if that doesn't work then just leave well enough alone.  After all, jumping to conclusions is actually not an exercise. There are many other ways to help you physically and mentally to get over assumptions, both the kind made about you as well as the kind that you may be guilty of making about others. It is such a happier world when we embrace our differences. If we can't do that, at least be sure that you are dealing with the facts, just the facts, Mam.  

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