Back to Basics – Making Assumptions

Have you noticed all of the aggressive attacks on one another lately? Especially on social media. Some people are taking politically charged posts personally, especially when they are not, and lashing out at the person or persons who posted.

Fascinating, really, that even when the post isn’t personal, some make assumptions about the one posting. Personally, I’ve been attacked now twice. Both by men who barely know me, especially at this juncture in my life.

And both men jumped to some pretty significant conclusions about me, the way I do or don’t live my life, and both made incredulous assumptions about who I am as a person.

Now the funny part is that I never, with either man, assumed anything about them and the way they live their lives because basically I just don’t give a rats ass how they conduct personal business. I truly don’t. And so why would they assume that I give, then, a rats ass about what they think about me?

Here’s an answer: I don’t.

You are probably reading this wondering if I’m going to go into some political tirade about the current climate, my stance on it and yadee-yadee-yada… but I’m not. In fact, this blog is about not making assumptions, which is one of the four agreements from the book The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. It just happens to fit into the grand scheme of recent events brought on by America’s current predicament.

If you had a chance to read last week’s blog post about being impeccable with our word, I presented this information after attending the same yoga class I was at tonight, and this week was about not making assumptions, because when we assume we make an ass out of u and me.

ass u me

How many times have you made an ass of yourself while assuming something about someone? I know I have, and as I’ve grown up and have actively sought more leadership positions within the work environment, it has been increasingly more important to not make assumptions about others; even more so in the profession I’m in that deals with a significant amount of unique personalities and a variety of backgrounds.

I would lose my job if I assumed I knew about all of the kids I worked with and their families and passed judgement on them everyday. I would be in the hot seat more often than not, and eventually, would just lose all credibility, along with diplomacy and professionalism.

So I made it a point to stop assuming with others. At least for the most part.

And when someone does it to me, I have to take a step back and ask myself some pretty tough questions such as: Why am I passing judgement? and Why do I think I assume and askknow this person’s reasons for acting in such a manner? and my personal favorite, Why is this person’s actions bothering me so much?

When I pause and ask those tough questions, I give myself enough space and time to not assume I know anything about their situation, and I find that passing judgement becomes tertiary.

Unfortunately, I think that when I was attacked for voicing my beliefs, these questions were not asked by the other parties. And that was their choice. I cannot tell them how to live their lives, or how to act or react, but I can choose my position.

However, by not assuming I know their true intent, I can respond with neutrality. I do not have to defend myself, because by defending myself, I perpetuate the cycle of assumption, which is exactly what is not on my agenda.

By not assuming, I allow them to voice their opinions without judgement, because clearly they wanted to be heard.

By not assuming, I see them for who they wanted me to see. And trust me, I believe people when they present who they are.

By not assuming, I don’t feel that I am right or wrong; I simply just am.

By not assuming, I get to see more of a person, and not just a narrow, socially manipulated microcosm of the “truth”.

Right now we are in a shit storm of assumptions about one another, our administration, and what our administration may or may not do to our country. Unfortunately we are not opened up as a country to not assuming because so much negative information is being thrown at the public every few minutes; it’s hard to know if we are coming or going.

To start with ourselves and think about taking just a few moments to step back and ask those tough questions so that we don’t pose assumptions might eventually make a difference in the long run.

It’s a hope I have for all of us, and one I have without making any assumptions that it will or won’t work!


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