Assumptions and judgments — they’re relationship termites. They feast on the foundation, weaken the structure, and leave gaping holes in their wake. And like termites, assumptions are good at hiding, doing irrevocable damage behind the scenes. This post came to me after an incident with my guy. As mentioned in a previous post, we’re both generally drama-free. We don’t fight (much), and our bickering usually ends in affectionate nose biting, giggling, and the mutual annihilation of an entire bag of chocolate-covered almonds. But after a conversation last week, I began to make assumptions about things he said, misunderstanding but never inquiring about the meaning behind his words. And so I sat, sulking, inviting my own emotional termites to chew furiously beneath the surface. Ever do that?
Eventually, I did what a bad yogi/woman scorned often does: I had a small tantrum, unleashed a few four-letter words, and behaved like a hurt fool. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had it all wrong. I’d misinterpreted an entire conversation, and subjected myself to needless pain and worry. Why? Because I didn’t have the courage (or humility) to ask questions. What a fool I am.
And sadly, this is not the first time I’ve assumed or judged. I realize I do both quite often. I wonder how many people I’ve pushed away in the process, and how much I’ve tainted my own perspective on life and the world. Where would I be, or better yet, who would I be without judgments and assumptions? I challenge you to ask yourself the same question.
Here are some quotes to help us kick the habit of assuming and judging. Let’s try communicating instead.
- “Be curious, not judgmental” ~ Walt Whitman
- “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.” ~ William of Ockham
- “A tornado of thought is unleashed after each new insight. This in turn results in an earthquake of assumptions. These are natural disasters that reshape the spirit.” ~Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
- “A lion of truth never assumes anything without validity. Assumptions are quick exits for lazy minds that like to graze out in the fields without bother.” ~ Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
- “When you judge another, you don’t define them. You define yourself” ~ Wayne Dyer
- “When you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Theresa
- “Be a witness, not a judge…” ~Rumi
- “Assumptions are the termites of relationships” ~ Henry Winkler
P.S. Not all assumptions are bad. In fact, there is one I will strive to make going forward:
Assume everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have.