Friday, May 09, 2008

ASSUMPTIONS

In a conversation today with a new client (Psychology Professor and Conflict Resolution Consultant) I asked him what seemed to be the #1 issue that creates the conflicts with the groups and individuals he deals with? He said, "People assuming things about others and becoming stuck in those assumptions." Our conversation was so fascinating and it covered many of the things that have been in the process of deconstruction in my life and several of my friends over the past few years.

I bring up the problematic act of assuming things about people and situations and forming opinions based upon those assumptions because this seems to be part and parcel with how most people live their lives. Unless we are set free from this, we will continue projecting things on people and situations that aren't based upon anything real and will continue participating in the cycle of destructive behavior that keeps healthy relationships from happening.

6 comments:

Sue said...

This is exactly what I was thinking myself yesterday! How creepy! :)

I was thinking this myself even before I came across that blog calling me creepy, but yes, I am planning a blog post on this very subject.

It's a bad, bad habit we humans have of boxing each other in just so it all sits tidier in our heads.

Ron said...

Kent,

I've been through a significant relational healing a couple of years ago, and since then, along with my wife, have been used by Father to assist others in experiencing similar relational healing. In my limited experience, what your client described is so true. Getting two (or more) people to sit down and ask each other questions and hear each other out about what has caused their conflict helps them to explode those assumptions and opinions, and to instead come to some understanding.

The assumptions we make are a part of the shortcut to understanding that we try to take, by jumping to conclusions rather than pursuing the other and clarifying their thoughts and feelings prior to reaching carefully considered conclusions. We assume that we know what they were thinking behind their actions that may have hurt us, and the evil one is quick to try to convince us that we can read their minds and know their thoughts and motives exactly! How absurd, and yet how sadly frequent in our experience!

I keep seeing this type of behavior in the forums we both frequent, and it saddens me. I don't claim to be beyond it yet myself.

"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen."

Bones

Kent said...

Sue, I look forward to reading what you've been thinking on these lines.

Bones, it does distort everything from the get go doesn't it?

Jennifer said...

This is so trivial after all the good stuff shared here, but I really think I might like your job. What a privilege to get to listen and talk with so many different kinds of people!

Kent said...

Jennifer, if you love talking to interesting people and hearing intesting stories of people's lives you would at least love that part of what I get to do. I get to talk to people from literally just about every career you can think of, religious faith, and nationality. All of us are a collection of stories and experiences.

I got to talk to an elderly woman the other day who was throwing a birthday party that night for her Jewish husband who had been rescued from Prague during WWII when he was 6 years old by a rich lady who happened to be a total stanger. This lady one day after offering the oportunity to take this boy to the US had 30 young Jewish children on a ship headed for Anerica.

His wife for his birthday gift was sending him back with all of his children to Prague for the first time since he had left. The story was gut wrenching on one hand(he later found out that both his parents had been taken to concentration camps and were killed there) yet on the other hand what had happened in his life was simply beautiful and inspiring.

I guess you could say that the rich lady that saved all these children made an assumption...she assumed that these kids were valuable enough to risk her own well being to give them a chance.

I can support that kind of assuming.

Sue said...

Yes, that sounds like a pretty safe assumption.

What an amazing story. How wonderful and painful for that man to return to Prague.

Wow. The stories people have ...