The thing about unconscious assumptions is that you don’t realize that you’re making them. That seems obvious, and yet it surprises me every single time I realize that I’ve done it again.
I try to question my assumptions so that I can continue to stretch and grow as a person, but that is complicated by the very nature of assumptions. You don’t realize that you’re making them. For me that means stumbling over them and landing in a messy pile, looking over my shoulder in confusion as I try and figure out what just happened and why. That used to lead to an angry reaction from me, a kind of denial that I could have been wrong, I guess. It took me a long time to start to be able to question my own ideas and examine how I came to have them and how valid they may or may not be. It’s certainly not a comfortable thing, so much easier to just stick to what I “know” and obstinately defend that “truth”.
Except sometimes what I think I know is wrong. And I hate being wrong. I used to think I hated appearing wrong, but I’ve learned that what I really hate is *actually* being wrong.
I have had a lot of practice at being wrong. My children are tremendous helps in this regard, pointing out my transgressions. I’ve apologized far more times to them than I have to anyone else in my life.
Being wrong used to terrify me as a child. I hated standing out because invariably that would involve being laughed at or teased or otherwise being reminded that I didn’t quite fit. That’s been a very difficult thing to put to bed. I still don’t like standing out, except on my terms. “Here is this thing that I’m doing that I feel fairly confident about, go ahead and notice me.”
Things I’ve learned over the last four decades:
Thing 1: If you hate being wrong, and you have a big mouth that is keen on expressing your strongly held convictions, you should either ALWAYS BE RIGHT or learn to evaluate your thoughts and ideas before you actually open your mouth and reveal them to the world.
Thing 2: I have yet to master always being right.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Turn your eyes to the center ring! For my next death-defying trick, I’m going to learn how to assess my response BEFORE IT LEAVES MY MOUTH!!
What? It could happen…