know more than I say,
think more than I speak,
observe more than you realise,
love more than I show…
Are you quiet?
Image from https://hocuspocus13.wordpress.com/
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…
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?
“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
I can be very talkative, though often do not enjoy talking. For me face-to-face interactions and talking are often lacking depth and meaning of writing and reading. Physical and social attributes of another person distract from the real essence of his or her being. I find reading and blogging much more helpful in expressing myself and interacting with other people.
What about you?
How do you escape the madness, melancholia,
the panic and fear?
What is your favourite way of expressing yourself
and interacting with other people?
Take time today to appreciate someone who does something you take for granted…
Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person:
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pour them all out, as they are, chaff and grain together,
knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then, with the breath of kindness,
blow the rest away.
~ George Eliot, 1819 – 1880 ~
Do you have such special person in your life?
“At a conference I attended recently as a guest speaker I was sitting waiting to address a group of around 300 women. As I watched them come into the hall, I began to take note of the noise they were making. It seemed they were all talking at once. I decided to see if I could focus on just what had them so energised: perhaps they were discussing the world situation on the context of the Iraq war or maybe the political situation here at home. But no, they were talking about which chair they were going to sit in – ‘Hey Mary, let’s go up the front’, ‘Sally, I think we should go over here’, ‘Has anyone seen Jude? She might want to sit with us’, ‘Where do you reckon you’ll hear here better, up the back, or over here?’ ‘Are the seats allocated, do you think? Will it be all right to sit here?’ The discussion continued for several minutes then gradually came to a halt as the women settled into their chairs, checking as they did so that everyone around them was happy with the seating arrangements….
I’m reasonably sure I can guarantee that if 300 men were coming into a hall in similar circumstances, there wouldn’t be one conversation about which chair to sit in. If there was any conversation at all, it would be low level, short bursts of speech and equally short responses. ‘Good game last night.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Michael Campbell seems to have hit his stride.’ ‘Yeah.’ But if you actually watched what was going on, you’d see a lot of communication occurring. If one guy wanted another to sit next to him, he’d just nod towards a chair and raise an eyebrow and the other man would know exactly what he meant. He wouldn’t speak; he wouldn’t need to. He’d just sit down.”
From “He’ll Be Ok: Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men”
by Celia Lashlie
Celia’s observation highlights some interesting differences in predominant communication style used within a group of men in comparison with the predominant communication style used within a group of women.
However if we take a closer look at individuals in both groups, we might discover a huge range of communication styles and preferences within each gender. We might also notice individuals of both genders shifting styles dramatically from one context to another.
What is your predominant communication style?
Do you speak loudly with non-verbal communication?
Do you speak silently with words?