If you are human, chances are you assume things on a daily basis. You assume your alarm clock is going to wake you. You assume the driver approaching the four-way stop is going to stop. While these generic assumptions are likely to be true, the personal assumptions we make of others often are completely wrong and skewed by our own thoughts and impressions.
Assumptions are easy to make. We see or hear something about a situation (or person) and have incomplete information to know the truth of the full story. From here things start to get a bit fuzzy.
Now, let’s pause for a moment. We are ALL guilty of assuming. It is human nature. Why? Because in the absence of complete information, you have to fill in the blanks yourself. Think of it as a Mad Libs gone wild. You start filling in blanks based on previous experiences you may have had or witnessed. You rely on moments you have seen or heard. You remember accounts of others who have had similar stories to tell. You think of things from your own past. Or, you may just become creative and make up something.
However, at this point, the blanks are filling with misinformation. You are connecting the dots, but missing some of the numbers to create a complete and true picture. Therefore, you are connecting things that truly do not exist and this is when the story changes to untruth. This is also the place where much gossip can originate.
All is well and good until the assumption wreaks havoc on our relationships. Emotions come into play and feelings are hurt or misunderstood. If only we could ask the relevant questions to help us know the true story before things got out of hand. Or, what if we could step up and own that our assumptions were not true. When we can’t own it, this is when judgment takes over. Not only are we assuming we know everyone else’s business, but now we are judging them based upon our assumption. See how the snowball becomes bigger and bigger?
Assumptions are negative, painful and keep pouring salt into the wound of the one who knows the entire story. It is a continuous cycle. When it is a loved one that assumes, it is the most painful. You have crafted the story as the way you see it, but now you will never be able to accept the “real” story because you can’t see it any other way than what you have created in your head. On the flip side, the person trying to negate and combat the assumption is fighting an uphill battle and will likely never recover or win. It creates toxic and unhealthy relationships. It is the lazy way out and most often a relationship changer.
How can we grow? Next time, before you assume or judge someone based on things you think you know, try actually having a real conversation with the person and judge fairly and let your assumptions rest before they hurt others more deeply.