©2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Have you ever caught yourself assuming something you have no way of knowing? A lot of gossip comes from, well, nothing. It’s human nature to fill in the blanks when curious about something. But we need to take care we are neither consumed by our natural curiosity nor creating problems for someone with our assumptions.
Here’s a relatively harmless example from a business networking meeting. To get the dynamics, you need to know that I only ever eat small meals. This particular group always has a buffet, so it’s interesting to see what people choose to put on their plates. However, normally members never comment on what others are eating. This one day, an unusually fine-boned, thin (as in, no one is thinner) and athletic member took a massive interest in my lunch plate.
“I came across some awful characters when I got some kind of status and came to Hollywood. Then you have directors trying to sleep with you, assuming that you will do things because of the way you dress.”
~ Stacey Dash
She asked me loudly, “[I]s that all you’re going to eat?” I hate becoming the center of attention for something so trivial, but I replied pleasantly, “[O]h, I never eat much.” At the same moment, this woman finished taking the food she wanted, and turning out of the buffet line, saying even more loudly, to the room,“[O]h! She’s on a diet!!” To make that statement, she had to be assuming that I felt overweight and wanted to lose pounds, and further that I was choosing food reduction as a means of losing pounds. I did not enjoy the flash realization that my “friend” thought I was overweight. Nor did I enjoy her telling the entire group that I was overweight and had decided to diet, to lose weight.
“I’m just trying to get rid of all the mystery surrounding me and let people see what I’m thinking. So they can understand me and stop assuming things about me.”
~ Juliana Hatfield
In part, at first, I felt humiliated. I also saw this could escalate into a group discussion, as others started peering at my plate and considering what the ultrathin woman was saying. It was horrible being put in this position by someone else’s broadcasted assumptions. Taking a deep breath and a huge risk, I matched the ultrathin woman’s volume and said calmly to the room, “I’m not on a diet. I never eat much. Don’t make stuff up!” Interestingly, the woman went silent and kept moving, without even looking at me again (ever, so far), let alone apologizing. I no longer seek her out or regard her as a friend.
What do you believe about people and situations? How much of your belief system about each friend or colleague is based on fact, and how much on imagination? If you are disturbed by someone’s behavior, is your discomfort based on actual conversation with them? Or is it based on your ideas about why they said and did what they said and did? When you are frustrated by a situation, try writing down what you actually know, what you guess, and what came from rumors. Eliminate the conjecture for a clearer picture, and try starting fresh. You’ll have much less stress and much more peace within. Will you let assuming consume you? It’s a burden you don’t need, and it’s up to you.
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.
- For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: firstname.lastname@example.org .