Monday, September 9, 2019

Autism Answer: An Assumption Experiment

Thinking about things in my outside.

I just realized something about myself. A HUGE incongruence with what I say I believe and how I live.

I am a big talker about and believer in not making assumptions about people. Not filling in their story with my own preconceived ideas of who they are and why they are doing or saying what it is they are doing or saying. AND YET...

I spend my life making one great big fat assumption about pretty much everyone. This assumption takes up so much space in me that I have gone years and years and years not recognizing it for what it was. It feels too much like a truth; the size of it pushes aside any easy perch of perspective.

And I admit, this assumption has also helped me live an easier happier life. So when I've come close to seeing it for what it is, I quickly turn away. I feel that now. Like a repressed memory, all those times flood back with a knowing that comes from this acceptance.

(An Aside: When repressed memories come flooding back, I've had a few, it is a feeling I cannot properly describe. We have repressed them for reasons and the reasons rush back with the memories, creating a storm of emotions that can gather into a fist and punch you in the gut. Over and over. But they also offer answers, if we use our strength and patience and support network to discover and implement them. I recommend it.)

So here's the assumption I'm almost always making about a person: They are meaning well and trying to do right. Always, I assume this. I am aware that they may be trying to do right for themselves, for their family, for their God, for their town, for their business; not necessarily for me or the world I believe in creating. But they are - in my assumption - always meaning well and trying to do right.

Now, this assumption has been a gift for me. One time out of a thousand it has blinded me in a way that ended up hurting me. But for the most part, it has given me the confidence to trust, love, evolve, discover, converse, connect, and volunteer. Also, and here is where I justify this assumption, it is mainly true. We are all mostly meaning well and trying to do right, based on our beliefs, understanding, and assumptions.

So I'm going to try something for a while. I'm going to try recognizing this assumption about people as an assumption, and be willing to know it may not be true or right. But I will still use it as my base belief. I will still start there. I will just let myself see that I am choosing it because I want to.

However, if this experiment turns out to bring me less happiness, less willingness to trust, love, evolve, discover, converse, connect, and volunteer, well... I'll probably let it go. Unless it's bringing me some other type of life-enhancing gift I can't imagine as of yet, I'll let it go.

After all, one of the biggest reasons I believe in not assuming or judging people is that it tends to get in the way of truly knowing and connecting and learning from each other. Hence, if I am able to keep tethered to my deepest desire, my "why" as mom calls it, then I should be okay.

We do not walk around empty. We have beliefs, memories, assumptions, judgments, opinions. They are there. They are guiding us, holding us back, bringing us revelations. They are the things I love exploring when I connect with and trust others. So if I choose to keep this one, well, I think that's okay. I just want to know it as a choice, an assumption, a belief of mine.

So when we chat next time, I will assume you are meaning well and trying to do right, but I will also let you change my mind. This is hard for me to even say, because I still really believe you are meaning well and trying to do right, even as I've grown confident enough to know I can say no to your idea of meaning well and doing right, I still assume you mean well.

This will be an interesting experiment, I think. One of those small changes I make in myself that potentially shifts me to an entirely new me.

Or not.

I'll have to stay tuned to the stuff I hear myself think to find out.

Wish me luck, friends!
(I assume you are wishing me luck and meaning well, so it's okay if you don't tell me. tee hee!)

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)