Assumptions. We all make them. It is necessary for us to function properly as humans. Our brains- amazing things they may be- cannot be constantly analyzing the smaller things in life. It is not possible. With my memory deficits it is even more difficult.
So our brains have this survival thing we do…we assume things. i assume when i get to my place of work i will have a job. i assume my car will start. i assume my house roof will not cave in while i am work. This is necessary and healthy and keeps most of us from worrying 24 hours a day. Got it? Good.
But when i assume things about other people- my partner, friends and even strangers- i open a can of “oh my, look what happened here”. And it catches me by surprise. Not too much surprises me, by the way. I am fairly vigilant about my surroundings.
Ask any abused person. Most of us are the same in that way. We live in fear of being hurt again. i know i do. Maybe you are healthier than i am. God. i hope so.
And fear is a powerful driving force. And every time i am hurt again, it drives that message home. i can’t trust you. You want to hurt me. Everyone wants to hurt me. Not reality, but a powerful internal force, nonetheless.
These two charts concern checking assumptions when doing research. You don’t have to understand science or math. Notice the same message: if you make assumptions, you will skew your outcome. An experiment tainted with an incorrect assumption will yield incorrect results.
Boy…those scientists know their lab stuff, eh? Wonder if they apply that to their relationships? Or are they are like me, just assuming things about people? Assumptions can have far-reaching consequences for those around us.
Let’s narrow it down a bit. I want you to consider yourself for a moment. What do you love most about being you? What do you need right now from your relationship with your partner? Ok. A final question. What, right now, is bringing stress into your life. i know. Just pick one.
Not too tough to answer those questions, right? Let’s take it up a notch.
How about my partner? No, you twit. Pick your own partner or someone with whom you are in relationship. Jeez.
Now. Just stop and clear your mind. Have a couple of deep breaths and consider that person. i did not say to “think” about them, because this is more than a cerebral step. Forgot to warn you. It may involve your gasp, emotions. Steady yourself. More deep breaths.
Consider that person. You know them, right? What does that person love most about you? Don’t know? Hm. What does your partner need most from you right now, emotionally? Don’t know? Hmm. What are they experiencing in their lives right now that is bringing stress into their lives? Don’t know? Hmmmmmmmmm.
Good questions that help move us from Entitlement thinking and toward Gratitude thinking. Go read the article on Entitlement. It’s all there.
Maybe for the first time in a long time, you are considering that individual as a real person with needs and desires and pressures. Just like you. You know. A human just as many needs and desires.
Shit. A real person. Imagine that. Just like you and i. Now you know i will mention Sarah here. And it makes sense to do that.
Let me begin by saying Sarah is no saint. But some of our friends jokingly refer to her as St. Sarah. I thought it was because she is so generous and loving. Cool. She is one of the kindest people i’ve ever met.
i know better now. i think they called her St. Sarah because she had to tolerate me and my idiosyncrasies, not to mention my moods and abusive humour. No offense taken. i totally agree.
i do not know when i began to make some of the deadly assumptions I made about our relationship. But i did. i stopped believing Sarah had my best interests at heart. i assumed a lot of things i am not sure are beneficial to share right now. The point is this:
It is an insidious process. Once i stop believing good about someone else i feel justified saying or doing almost anything, right? If you really loved me…blah, blah, blah. And it is passive. i don’t have to take action or have real direction or purpose. And so the termites do their damage, and the assumptions eat little holes in the foundation of our relationships until one day they collapse.
Want to avoid assumptions? Ask. Imagine being married to someone and being afraid to ask them about their feelings…what a bizarre notion! But it happens all the time. We know, don’t we?
Somewhere the intimacy of being together wore off. You remember how that intimacy felt, don’t you? That little knot in your stomach and that bit of light-headedness when you were first together? So you may find yourself wondering why or how.
Ask. Ask your partner how they are feeling. i did not. i assumed some things and look how well that worked out. This is John. Don’t be John. Only some of you will get that.
And don’t be stupid about it. Don’t just look over at your partner in the middle of Thor and say, “Hey are you mad at me?” That’s not fair. Set up a little time together and say something like, “i haven’t asked you about you for a while. How are things? How are you feeling?”
Notice i did not say you will like the answer. If you want to feel nice inside go watch Little House on the Prairie or something. i am not here to make you feel good. i am trying to help you not make my mistake. Honest. It is better to know. It is better to be honest and emotionally available to at least that one person.
So don’t be John. Put on your big boy pants, walk over and ask her. And then listen. No matter how much emotion you feel inside and how much that frightens the shit out of you, sit there and listen. Don’t interject. Don’t comment. Don’t think about how you will respond. Just listen.
i don’t know what happens after that, but i can guarantee you, living honestly is better than living a lie. Honesty can lead to change and growth and action. Assumptions usually lead to pain and fear and depression. Trust me. Assumptions turned inward will rot your soul. If you don’t have a soul, well then…an ulcer. Me…i got depressed. Badly depressed. So. Don’t be John. Listen to this guy instead.
So now if i want to know something i ask. I overcome my inner child’s fear and anxiety and i ask. And life is easier. Particularly inside.