Assumptions are a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.
I have been thinking about assumptions. As human beings, we make assumptions about each other, about the stock market, the weather, and just about everything.
Having others make assumptions about me is uncomfortable. How much is true? How much is not true? Why does this bother me? I think it bothers me because it limits me. It makes me realize that even the closest friends make assumptions that make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I am uncomfortable because they are true. Sometimes I am uncomfortable because they are not.
Here are some of the assumptions people have made regarding me over the past few years.
- I am not vegan or vegetarian. I do love farmers markets for all their fresh and organic produce. I may not get as excited about them as someone who has just become vegan yet it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. They are a go-to place when they are in season.
- I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I have never been allied with either party. I like to think that I will vote for whoever will do the best job for me and everyone else. Ask me what I believe, don’t categorize me.
- I don’t like casinos. I don’t judge the people that like this entertainment. Some of them are my people, in fact, a good friend of mine goes to them often. I don’t like the noise, the smell of smoke, and all the audible stimulation. I like camping in their parking lots. I do like their buffets. A year ago a group of us who were camping in the parking lot, went into the casino for dinner. Everyone was required to wear masks. Now I don’t want to go in because Covid is still a part of our lives and fewer people wear masks.
- Yes, I might make a good Univeral Unitarian. Do I want to be one? No. And maybe I wouldn’t make a good one.
- I am not brave. If you only knew how often I have heard this since I bought my RV. There are times when my fear overwhelms me. I have been known to delay departures because I get so nervous about taking that first really giant step forward and I get sick. I am working through life just like the rest of us.
- I am not a Buddhist. I believe in many of the tenets of Buddhism. I have practiced yoga for many years. I am not a Buddhist.
- I do not listen to NPR, a lot. Except maybe on Saturdays and even then, not frequently. I am not a news person. The news stresses me out. I finally decided I needed to keep up so I get the New York Times headlines in my inbox every day. I can read what I am interested in and let the rest go.
Interesting, aren’t they? These are only a sample of what I have heard from people over the past few years. If I am present when a friend or acquaintance states an assumption about me I will attempt to talk about the assumption with that person.
Rather than assuming something about me, ask me. I am pretty upfront about myself. Ask me why I don’t want to go to a casino for dinner. Ask me about my faith and beliefs. Tell me why you think I would make a good UU. I may learn something about myself.
Why has this subject come to my awareness, now? It has been there for quite some time. It frustrates me. It would be so much better for each of us to learn about each other by asking the questions that would open us up and take our friendship to the next level if that is where we want it to go. Assumptions can limit where we might go and what we might do as people in this world. Assumptions make people feel safe and set boundaries.
What assumptions do I make of others? Hmm, that is a good question. When something comes into my awareness it is time to look at myself. The lesson will ride in the forefront of my consciousness for a while. It has already been there for some time. It is time for me to take a look at myself and change what needs changing. Is this an easy task? No, absolutely not. The key is not to be too hard on myself and recognize, like everyone else, that I am human. Growth is what it is all about. Awareness can help me change and grow. And maybe I won’t be so quick to assume things of others.
Because strangers, acquaintances, and friends make assumptions does not make them less valued in my life. Heck, we all do it without thinking. I value all who enter my life, whether for a few minutes a few years, or forever. People enter my life to teach me lessons in self-growth. And here I am at almost seventy still growing.
Today I am thankful for a tough and delicate topic for me to address. Today I am thankful I have a platform to discuss this. Today I am thankful for those who have helped me to bring this subject forward. Today I am thankful.
Janet, I love your candor. Many, many years ago when I did the EST Training, I remember the conversation about what we, as humans, “assume.” The definition was something like (when we assume), we make an ass out of you and me. It’s a human thing to do but the consequences are harmful. You’re a courageous, trailblazer in my book and I am glad we met.
Thank you Dorothy.
That was just fabulous Janet. I feel the same way. Hugs and love my friend. Ann E
Thanks Ann. How is Hawaii?
I always learn something from your writings and I’m very happy that you are a part of our lives. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability and for sharing.
Very well said Janet. And. Let me be honest. I have found that this is one area I too am working on. I kind of always considered myself fairly unbiased and caution in listening to other peoples remarks or opinions about someone. However, I seem to have a blinders on when it involves intimate friends including my partner in life. Thanks for your post.
Thank you. I find that intimate friends and partners are often the ones we make assumptions of. I wonder if some of this wasn’t taught to us by society and television. I am glad I am not alone in doing the work.