Are We Guilty of Assumicide?
WHY ASSUMING DOES MORE THAN MAKE AN ASS OUT OF YOU AND ME
“You can literally see the devil in his eyes.”
—FROM AN IGNORANT CABLE NEWS COMMENTATOR
The quote above was spoken by an ignorant cable news commentator a couple of days ago about the 15-year-old assailant in the Oxford High School shooting. I knew someone would say it eventually. I said so in my last post.
We do it all the time. We jump to conclusions about people without knowing their whole story. Again, I’m in no way excusing the horrific behavior of a troubled boy who is clearly broken and disturbed. That’s not my point today.
I’m talking about making assumptions.
We all make assumptions, right? We’re so quick to evaluate people or situations based on the surface of what we see. Have you ever judged a person by their appearance alone? Sure you have. Me, too. It’s easy but unfair.
You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” It tends to be an accurate adage, doesn’t it? Lately, my wife is fond of quoting her boss and saying, “Don’t commit assumicide.”
Here’s the problem with making assumptions: We tend to believe they are true. And then we take them personally. But unfortunately, all the drama created by making assumptions is literally manufactured in our minds.
As I think about the issues of aloneness and authenticity which plagues our lives, I’m confident that 95% of the fears we face could be completely avoided if we would choose to just stop making assumptions about others.
When was the last time you made an assumption about someone or something and then went on to gossip about the person or circumstance with someone else? Even if we find out we’re wrong, we double down to save face.
One of the first assumptions I make when I walk into a room is to believe you won’t like me. Isn’t that sad? But that’s one of my greatest fears—it has followed me for most of my life. I worry a lot about what others think of me.
If we’re honest, we all do (those who pretend they don’t are only fooling themselves). So most of the hell we face inside our heads is a fantasy derived from illusions founded on assumptions. About others. And about ourselves.
When you work out this equation to its logical conclusion, you realize that we literally dream up our own drama. How many conflicts could have been avoided by asking questions and seeking clarification instead of assuming?
Assumption is not communication—it’s a complete lack of communication—which is the primary reason relationships fall apart, right? Again, how many problems in our lives could be prevented by taking time to talk—and listen?
According to Don Miguel Ruiz, “...we assume others feel the way we feel, think the way we think, judge the way we judge.” If this is true—and I believe it is—it’s no wonder we have a fear of being our authentic self around others.
That’s the problem with assumptions—they become false beliefs—which eventually evolve into fears. So instead of waiting for you to reject me when I walk into the room, I reject myself first. Or I reject you. Sound familiar?
Many of the behaviors we portray to others tend only to be fronts designed to protect us from rejection and shame. But what if we’re simply guarding ourselves from false assumptions we’ve made about others in the first place?
I’m afraid our methods and means of self-protection have backfired and become self-imposed prisons constructed around fears we’ve fabricated in our minds. No wonder authenticity has become such a rarity in our world today.
Fear does many debilitating things to a person, but fundamentally, it makes us feel insecure. Because without a sense of safety, the mind becomes overwhelmed and preoccupied with threats instead of possibilities and hope.
In your life and work, I urge you to decide that making assumptions is asinine. Not only are you hurting yourself, but you’re also preventing others from being their true, authentic selves as well. In the end, it’s a lose-lose equation.
Maybe if we’d have real conversations with people we’d see their fears as similar to our own. Maybe we’d realize that everyone just wants to be accepted as they are. Maybe we’d stop seeing the devil inside and start seeing the hurt.
So how do you stop making assumptions? Simple. You tell yourself you won’t. Every morning. I’ve been doing it for months. And I can’t begin to tell you the difference it has made in my life. Try it. You’ll be amazed by the change.
Be a square peg in a round hole. Stop committing assumicide.▪️
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🙏 If you enjoyed this post, please share it. I’d really appreciate your help. —T.
Timothy Eldred is a writer, speaker, person of faith, and friendly disruptor of the status quo on a mission to end aloneness and help people live and lead with authenticity.