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Thursday, 12 January 2017

To Assume can do more than, "Make an Ass out of U and Me". Assumptions may cause harm or even destroy relationships. By Mairead Ashcroft 12/1/17

 How many of us may have read a personal, negative message into the event of someone not showing up to an occasion in which they were invited, like our birthday celebration? How many of us has taken another persons silence as a sign of their dislike or disappointment in us in some way. Who might have interpreted the words, "I can't talk to you!", as a complete shut down and rejection and then gone on to react and perpetuated these feelings within the relationship with a similar response, only to find that conflict has developed and neither party actually knows what is fuelling this difficult energy? I could hazard a guess (a dangerous game) and say that at some time or other and say that at one time or another, most of us has fallen into the trap of making assumptions about what is going on for another person in these and other similar circumstances. Then, out of feelings of hurt, perceived self-defence, fear or confusion, we might react in a ways that are unhelpful and possibly even uncharacteristic. We may seek reassurance from sources that we know will be "on our side" providing us with the re-affirming messages that we are searching for to bolster our conviction. These Supports have usually only been informed with one perspective of the story, yours, but if you don't even have all of the facts, how can anyone else contribute in a balanced discussion. As you read this you may be thinking, " What do you mean, unbalanced, I was there, I know what happened!" This is where assumptions often get us into trouble. We can only experience life from our own perspectives. This is where non-judgemental curiosity plays and important role in human relationships. Unless another person can inform us of their feelings, wants, needs, dreams, sufferings, loves, fears and passions and we, in turn, can do the same, relationships can become stagnant, leaving us grappling with insecurities, coming face to face with our own insecurities and vulnerabilities and projections.

In order to break the cycle of assumptions we must first understand how they work    

  1. We find ourselves faced to face with a vulnerability. This could be the feeling of abandonment at the person not showing up to our party. We could jump to assumptions, creating thoughts of being snubbed for a better offer leading to us feeling offended and hurt and negative thought patterns.
  1. What you know is most likely what you will believe.If your pattern of thought and behaviour is to find difficulty or dissatisfaction with every day lived experiences you are more likely to assume more negative outcomes in other life aspects, even when you do not know the whole story. You might be more likely to attuned to difficulties than beauty if you believe that the world is a dangerous place. 
  1. Be conscious that it is most likely to be your mind creating your thoughts. Staying on the Birthday party theme, if you focus on negative thoughts about your friends absence or their perceived attitude towards you, without knowing why he or she was a no show to your party, your thoughts are likely to create their own story based on fiction. Yes your friend has not shown up, and yes you may feel hurt, but apart from that, even based on past history, you cannot assume the present story. The story may have been created mostly by your mind.
  1. Beliefs resulting from your thoughts often guide your actions  When we feel hurt some of if lash out in attack mode while others might retreat into there safe spaces until the storms have passed. Each have their merits in certain circumstances but unless we fully understand the situation we may find ourselves caught in a spiralling pattern of behaviours that continue until we can find a method of escape. 
  1. The actions that we choose are the ones that will structure our lives. If we choose to create an opinion before we are informed of all perspectives, we may bake biased decisions. Biased decisions may overlook the need of the whole, creating imbalance and dis-harmony
Relationships can be difficult and there could be any number of reasons why someone is behaving any particular way. We humans are complex creatures. We all have suffering in one form or another. We posses different skills and life experiences with resilience, trauma, grief, loss and many other human conditions. We can never assume that someone else thinks, believes or dreams in the same way that we do. we do not value or prioritise the same things, as they say, "What is one mans trash is another mans treasure." Whenever possible, throw away assumptions and attempt to be curious and kind. Ask respectful questions without judgement. Listen carefully to the answers and clarify if you don't understand. Paraphrase in your own words to make sure that you understand the other persons perspective to the best of your ability, understanding that you can never walk in their shoes. Most of all, be kind to your self, it is often our own insecurities that are triggered when we face another person in a vulnerable situation. It may be then that we feel that we need a little extra protection when we may, in fact, actually need to be letting our guard down with our loved ones, letting them know how we feel within our selves and how important they are to us.

Live your BlissMairead

NB: Domestic Violence is never Acceptable.         

In Case of Domestic Violence Seek Help Immediately (Australia)