We all make assumptions.
We make assumptions about other people from what they look like, what they say or don't say, how they act or don't act. Yet, when others make assumptions about ourselves, it is frustrating because, at the heart of it all, we know they don't know the whole truth.
I attended a personal development training at the very beginning of my journey a few years back and we played this game called 'I notice, I imagine'. We had to stand in front of another person and say what we noticed and then from that, what we imagined (assumed) about the person. When we were done, the other person had the opportunity to respond to say whether we were correct in our assumptions or imaginings. It was very interesting, even on a simple level, the assumptions we make about people JUST by looking at them.
The only things we can notice are what people are directly saying, doing or wearing. EVERYTHING ELSE is imagined or assumed.
I still make assumptions about people. I do. I think it is a human thing to do. I am getting better at NOT doing this purely based on the fact that I am conscious that others are probably doing the same about me! Again, what people think about me or assume about me is really none of my business.
BUT...it is my business to be in control of my own assumptions about other people. Because the assumptions lead to us thinking that we are true and correct in our knowledge of other people and nine times out of ten - we are incorrect!
We do not see things as they are
When we make assumptions about other people, we don't see things as they really are. We are viewing life and the world around us through our own lenses so really, we are seeing things as WE are. We make assumptions about other people's lives based on our own experiences in life and so we assume that what we are correct because we know our experiences to be true.
Our beliefs are not the same
When we make assumptions about other people, what we are really doing is looking for things in others that confirm our own beliefs about life. But what happens when we cross paths with someone who has different beliefs to us? We make this assumption - even though deep down we know it's not true - that other people are the same as us! Making assumptions means we believe things or people are a certain way with little or no evidence to show that we are actually correct.
It's all about perspective
What we see when we look at other people not only depends on what we look at but where we are looking from. Our perspective impacts what we think is happening with other people. Every single person on this planet has a story. Every single person on this planet views life from their own perspective. We can assume that our perspective is the same as the person beside us. We all know that two people can be looking at exactly the same thing and yet see something totally different from each other.
Behind closed doors
We don't know what is happening in people's lives. We don't always know their journey or their struggles. We can not read minds, so we don't know what they are thinking. We also don't know how people will react or what actions they will take in any given situation. We can only assume but we don't know for certain and we assume based on what we know we would do at that moment. Our childhoods were all different. Our journey through life is different. Our perception of the world is different, so don't you think it is curious that we all still make assumptions about others?!
We don't like it when other people make assumptions about us. Especially when we know they are incorrect assumptions. So here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to making assumptions about other people.
Trust what you know, not what you assume
We all make assumptions about things in life but often those assumptions are wrong. Remembering that our assumptions are based on our experiences and perspective in life, we can not trust what we assume about others. BUT...we can trust what we know. What we know is the knowledge - be it extensive or limited about life or someone else. We only gain this knowledge by having conversations with others. Hearing something about somebody does not mean you know. Get to know people.
Be brave enough to ask
Everything we hear is just an opinion. It is not always fact. Everything we see is just perspective. It is not always the truth. Most times in life, we make all sorts of assumptions because we don't have the courage to ask questions. How are we supposed to learn the truth without asking questions? The only way to find the whole story is to ask questions! And let me share something - I know I personally ask a LOT of questions! But I know a lot of my friends and other people don't like to. They don't like to 'pry'. But here is the thing...if you are in a situation where you are making assumptions and it is causing angst or misunderstanding or confusion - don't you think it is better for everyone involved to get clarity by asking questions? I am always appreciative when someone approaches me to get clarity about something I may have said or done before they jump to a conclusion and make an assumption about my intention or what I really meant! Our responsibility in life is to question everything, assume nothing and learn the truth!
Keep an open mind and have an understanding
When we find the courage to ask questions we assist in avoiding misunderstanding, sadness and most often, drama! When we find the truth, it has the opportunity to change our perspective slightly or help us see someone else's perspective. But here is the key to this - keeping an open mind. You are not always going to agree with what you hear or see. You are not always going to share beliefs or perspectives.
If you keep your mind open to other perspectives and perceptions, you are allowing your mind to be aligned with love and understanding. Knowing that it is okay if your perspective is different from someone else's. Being open-minded simply means that before you assume, you ask and learn, before you judge, you understand and before you say anything, you think.
To assume anything about anyone else or life itself is to limit our mind and our thinking to only one way of viewing things when simply by our nature, our perceptions and perspectives should be limitless.
Until next week....have a mindful week!
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