“I know exactly what you are thinking, because I have seen the likes of you before. The clothes you wear, the language you speak and the colloquialisms you use, the places you hang out and the food you eat. I know exactly who you are…”
But here’s the thing… There is no way I could possibly really know any of those things about a person without being assumptive. I am only assuming this-is-this, and that-is-that because of previous experience or exposure- a stereotype. I can only assume this is what you are thinking and this is how you feel about a certain topic, or many topics. I can only assume how you were raised, what your family is like and what sort of foods you like to eat.
By basing our understanding of others on assumptions, we are limiting our ability to learn, to share and to be open to new experiences. It is a form of cataloging people, places and actions. The people in our closest relationships right down to our random acquaintances don’t deserve to be cataloged.
Let’s flip this over though. What happens when the people close to us start, or are already making, assumptions about us. We are also being cataloged. What happens when we want to change, to learn more about ourselves and expand, to sample life and try new things, go on adventures? Maybe it’s not something you have taken on or done before… ah ha, but the people around you are assuming you wouldn’t do that, or couldn’t be good at this, or even more importantly shouldn’t be doing this or that.
We are laid bare by the assumptions of who we are before we even have a chance to explain. Perhaps they are not even listening. Part of being present is releasing ourselves from the idea of how things are, or should be, because of the past or the cultures surrounding us; releasing assumptions of others and more importantly assumptions of ourselves.
So the next time you meet someone new or hang out with someone you already know, drop any assumptions you have and view the person and the situation with fresh eyes and an open heart. Imagine yourself going into situations feeling like you have never experienced them before… almost childlike. What a great opportunity to re-create your life and renew your relationships.