“Just ask, don’t presume the worst of people”Sonia Sotomayor
I think we have all been guilty of this. We have all been guilty of making some pretty wild assumptions about people we know nothing about. Nothing what so ever. Trust me right now people are doing the same to each and everyone of us. People you know and don’t, everyday make up fantastic assumptions about you. Sometimes we feel well within our rights to presume and judge. Before they have had time to mount a defense – because they didn’t know they had to – we find them guilty. We find them guilty of things that, if we had taken a moment to think about it, we would find wildly unrealistic to assume.
The idea that we spend a lot of our precious time making realities for others, should stop us in our tracks. Because the time we take to make up these stories, could have been spent getting to know the person more, so we could treat them from a place of knowing and not based on a bunch of assumptions. When it happens to us we know how unfair it is. But when we do it to others, we develop temporary amnesia. We choose to ignore how dangerous it is to make too many assumptions and then live our lives as if they were true. We do not think about the fact that people are the way they are because each of us a back story; each part of the journey is important in the lives of each traveler and while we may have left certain things behind, those experiences never fully leave us.
We may only see the result and not the cause. The healing taking place in someone’s life may not be happening in the way we think it should. But the greatest thing is that there is the possibility for beauty in every ugly narrative. We are not better because someone’s weak point is when we are at our best, because while overcoming the worst experience of our lives, someone is at the same time living their nightmares. When we assume, it means that the- reasons -why no longer matter. It means that we are not willing to take the time to listen, to understand that today that person looked mean because their world is falling apart and they had to carry that burden in silence, so as not to offend the “sensibilities” of those around them.
So if it means so much to have that story, don’t assume, just ask.