When I was 40, I was on top of the world. I was fit and healthy, and I thought I had it all together. Until I was slammed with an unusual medical problem that required two major surgeries to fix. My overriding thought? “This shouldn’t be happening to me.”
I was carrying an assumption that young, healthy people don’t get weird medical problems. And when life showed me differently, I was thrown for a loop. I fought and resisted valiantly until acceptance set in. It was a relief to finally go along with what the world was presenting to me.
Assumptions Create Your Reality
What is an assumption? It is an idea that you project onto reality about what should or shouldn’t happen. It is taking for granted that you know how something should be, when the truth is that you don’t know at all. And it paves the way for struggle and resistance.
You are living a reality created by your assumptions, rather than the real one that is actually happening.
Consider these examples:
- Bad things shouldn’t happen, especially to good or innocent people.
- Things will always be as they are, or as you want them to be.
- You expect that you will fail.
- You assume you are right.
- You assume you will have nothing valuable to contribute to a conversation.
- You take your identities as absolute truth, assuming you are fearful, inadequate, entitled, or unable to be a loving partner.
Living according to your assumptions is stressful and limiting. It’s like walking around in a small room packed with furniture. Everywhere you turn, you bump into something.
When your assumptions rule, the world feels structured and unfriendly, and your passage through it is rocky.
Either you set up your life so that the world meets your negative expectations about yourself (a self-fulfilling prophecy). Or you find yourself constantly reacting when life throws you a curve.
If you want to be happy, peaceful, and at ease, you may find that holding onto assumptions doesn’t serve you. Then you are moving with what is being offered to you rather than resisting.
Open Up Your View
You might have heard the new-age definition of the word assume – it makes an ass out of “u” and me. I don’t find this helpful – or true. But let’s explore the effects that assumptions do have.
- They limit your view of what is possible.
- You have tunnel vision and can’t see clearly.
- You stay stuck in a negative view of yourself.
- You set yourself up to feel frustrated or disappointed when your expectations aren’t met.
Keep this up, and it will definitely seem like the world is against you.
Recently, I have been giving some talks on the everyday reality of living with someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. On the surface, you might expect that getting Alzheimer’s would be a terrible tragedy, and as a family member you may doubt that you can cope.
But if you stayed with these assumptions, you would miss out on a whole other amazing, heart-opening perspective. Many caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s will tell you that it’s hard, but it is also a blessing.
You get to express love in needed and wonderful ways. You learn how to truly meet another person just as they are. You are invited to live in the moment where memory isn’t required.
And if you are lucky – or wise – you discover how to appreciate what is here rather than focus on what is missing. See how life is so full and generous?
Discover Overflowing Possibility
If you are living in a world of assumptions, you may be missing out. When you find yourself stuck, expand your view. Take the widest angle lens possible so you can see what is actually being offered to you.
Life is so fresh as it unfolds, simply bursting with potential. Really, anything is possible. Life doesn’t need your assumptions to know what to create next – it does a fine job by itself.
Maybe you will decide to do yourself a favor. If your assumptions aren’t serving you, let them fade away. Align with the flow of what is happening right now, and live, happily, as the openness that you are.
Do your assumptions serve or get in the way? What if you were to let them go?
Note: I had a lovely interview last evening with Jonathan Mosen of MushroomFM radio. Here’s the link if you’d like to listen in.