What Are your Assumptions?

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Life is full of “unknowns”, so we all speculate and assume what we don’t know. We make decisions despite that and to the best of our guesses.

The same applies to our relationships with other people. We all hold certain assumptions towards other people (partner, close friends, or distant acquaintances). We give these, too, their share of wild “guesses”.

If we’re the suspicious type, we’re likely to have assumptions of negative intentions. We doubt what others are up to despite their disclosure. We’re uncertain about what they hide behind a probable facade they wear & distrust the truth of what they share or declare. We assume otherwise just to beware…

The assumptions that we have today are beliefs and expectations about reality which we developed at some point in the past.

While some of these assumptions can be constructive or harmless, other assumptions have the ability to destroy the relationship and trigger the whole chain of tragic events.

A mere assumption that his wife had an affair leads Alex, the main character in The Banishment, to force his wife to make an abortion in a hope to re-build their relationship and save their marriage once this unborn baby is out of the way. As the result of that mere assumption he loses everything: his baby, his wife, his family. Pure lack of communication takes a deadly turn…

It can be difficult to recognize assumptions because they tend to be buried deep in our subconscious minds where they become ingrained with our personal worldview.

Take as an example Othello –  a highly respected Venetian state servant, a Moor with an exotic cultural past.  As Peter Winsley points out, Othello is a truly admirable man whose achievements and successes are due to his own abilities and efforts rather than blood-line and inheritance. Why this admirable military leader, successful man with a bright strategic mind falls pray to Iago’s insinuations?

Iago’s detects and exploits Othello’s insecurities, causing him to falsely suspect people around him. He intuits that Othello feels insecure due to his racial identity, especially given that he has married a beautiful white woman, and manipulates Othello into self-destructive behaviours. He plays on Othello’s self-doubts, subconscious assumption and fear that he is not good enough for Desdemona because of his racial identity and that if someone “better” comes along, Desdemona would prefer that person over him.

It takes just a few seeds of self-doubt to grow and overwhelm Othello’s trust in himself, in others, and in the world…

OTHELLO Poster

As Charles Gosset points out, it is easy to “assume” that our assumptions are just the way things are for us and that there’s nothing we can do to change them. However we all have the power and ability to challenge and change our negative assumptions once we first learn how to spot these slippery tricksters.

What are your assumptions? 

THE END

Image 1: from https://coachingur3ps.wordpress.com
Image 2: From http://quotes.lifehack.org
Image 3: The banishment
Image 4: Othello
Image 5: From http://greaternw.org/

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19 thoughts on “What Are your Assumptions?

  1. Excellent post!

    It is good to be humbled. It reminds us of our humanity.

  2. bethbyrnes says:

    This is a really important topic, in my opinion and one that is rarely addressed these days. We have created a certain architecture of protection during early childhood that then becomes a potential barrier to accurate assessment of the world, since we learn to filter information according to that self-imposed structure.

    Dismantling it over time would be the ideal way to open ourselves to really seeing, one another, as well as looking back objectively at the self. But how many people realize this is necessary? We become very entrenched in our ideas, they color our impressions. Some of this is necessary, or we would have an excess of input and no ability to sort it out. However, as you indicate, just a seed of suspicion, doubt and paranoia can be highly destructive.

    What tools to use to clear away the assumptions could be the subject of an encyclopedic tome. But I am glad you raised this. It is always good to be reminded.

  3. ridicuryder says:

    Otrazhenie,

    At times suspicions get the better of us…best to be suspicious of suspicions. 🙂

    RR

  4. Reblogged this on blogbymichele and commented:
    This is a wonderful post, and is actually a topic about which I have been thinking lately. I am caused to think of those who make misjudgments, mischaracterizations, and assumptions regarding me – the person who I am and my character. My ethics, morals, and standards are of the highest quality, yet is saddens and disappoints me when others make incorrect assumptions about me. It causes me to feel truly and deeply sorry for them, leading me to think of how insecure they must be in themselves.

  5. katelon says:

    In relationships, it helps if you have partners who are willing and able to be honest and forthright so that things CAN be discussed, so you aren’t left guessing and assuming.

  6. That people are trustworthy until proved otherwise. This makes for generally greater comfort but can lead to shock and disappointment

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Very good point. The reality is that there is a high cost to both blind trust and distrust. However approaching situations with the belief that “most people are basically good,” usually makes life so much brighter than approaching all situations with the belief that ‘most people are bad’.

  7. Kreng Jai says:

    Reblogged this on Window With A View and commented:
    There is no cure for suspicious mind. 😈

  8. satzie says:

    Good post Otrazhenie 🙂
    Love the Isaac Asimov quote and picture.

    I will write a post related to the topic and will share the link, once done.

  9. billiamholt says:

    I really needed this reminder today. Thanks for writing.

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