How many mistakes are made, and relationships broken as a result of guesswork and making assumptions? To ‘guesstimate’ means to jump to conclusions, and perhaps misunderstand and jeopardize everything around you in an instant. Be careful not to assume! Of course you may be right, but it’s also very possible that you are way off the mark!
This week there were a number of incidents that happened whereby the people around me just assumed things, and took decisions! For example, someone overheard a conversation I was having with another person and they mistakenly assumed that I would not be meeting with them. They changed their plans and left. Consequently I waited a long time for them, not realizing that they had already departed. So time was wasted and feelings were hurt for no other reason than a person jumped to a conclusion.
Listen to the Audio of ‘Ass-U-Me’ (Music by Deuter)
Of course we have all done this at some time or another. We assume that a certain person did something they shouldn’t have, or didn’t do something that they should have. Then we blame and they get upset (quite rightly!). Or we assume that someone’s motives for doing something are different than they actually are, and our feelings towards them change (unnecessarily!).
It is often said that to assume (ass-u-me) means to make an ass out of you and me! Yet why is it that we keep on doing the deed? Here are a few factors and perhaps some remedies!
We are arrogant
We want to be seen to know everything. Also to be right. Thus we speak up in haste based on our left-brain thinking. We think we are fast at putting two and two together, and before we know it we have uttered what we think is the final word, and others also begin to believe it.
We have low self-respect
We guess about something because we didn’t quite understand. It went completely beyond us and we don’t feel we have a right to ask or check to clarify. We just think that others are right and that we must be a fool to not understand.
We are fearful
We are afraid to ask again and even more afraid to ask them to repeat it; to check what exactly needs doing, in fear of being seen as a dumbo!
We hear but we don’t listen
We all have selective hearing at times. We hear what we want to hear. For example: Perhaps we are asked to do something, but what we assume is that it applies to everyone else except me!
It’s so important for us to stay in our self-respect and to communicate clearly from our side. If we don’t know the full facts, it’s better to just say, “I don’t know”, and not to feel any lesser for it. Wouldn’t it be better to get clarity and do a proper job with all the info?
There will always be people who don’t communicate clearly what they mean. They issue an instruction in a few short words, and because they know what they mean, they assume that you also should know what is going on inside of their heads. In this case it’s much better to clarify the situation than to make assumptions, even at the risk of appearing foolish.
For example, if your boss gives you some instructions that are not clear, and you can’t quite comprehend what they are trying to say, then you can ask, “please can you clarify that, just to make sure I am fully understanding what you want me to do?” My sister reminded me recently, that her Math teacher would say, “it’s better to seem a fool once and ask, rather than to stay a fool all of your life!”
Likewise, when you are communicating to others, then be aware that others may not know the context that you are speaking in, so do not assume that they know the inner workings of your mind. It’s often forgotten that 50 percent of communication is making sure that the other person has understood the message that you are wanting to convey.
In listening to others, we need to pay attention and have presence of mind. We need to be aware of reasons and consequences. For example, note what is going on and how that will affect the present and future. Sometimes we can live in our own bubble, oblivious to reality!
The deeper lesson of Raja Yoga is that there is benefit in everything that happens. So even when things appear to go wrong they may not be. Making assumptions and the resulting misunderstandings may simply be a lesson for us to learn from!
It’s Time… to check, clarify and communicate and get clear on what needs to be done. Don’t ass-u-me.
Take a few moment to meditate NOW – Everything is Good (Music by Deuter – Silver Cloud)
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK