It is probably safe to ASSUME(yes, I assume purposefully–for dramatic effect) that we have all hurt someone much worse than we anticipated while trying to “help them” or connect to them. And we have all been hurt by someone who was trying to help us. We have all assumed that we know everything we need to know about a person, how they are feeling, what they are thinking, what kind of person they are… And we have all been on the receiving end of someone’s assumptions. Maybe they treated you differently as a result and there was a deep hurt set into motion between you–on both sides. Assumption is a dangerous thing and it can break even the most tight knit friendships or family bonds, shatter marriages, twist your mind to diminish the value of those around you and even your value of yourself. I made an assumption in the first line of this article(Intentionally). Assumptions are always going through our minds and often take place before we even communicate with our “target”. The world of today sees assumption as an innocent act, and portrays the mentality that anything is right as long as it makes you happy as a principle in modern society. Being happy has been put on a pedestal. Happiness is the modern day American idol! But, I believe that genuine happiness comes by turning and marching the opposite direction than what feels comfortable or “good” in the moment. You might as well be a drug addict if you live for the moment. Yes, there is something to be said about enjoyment and being content in your life and living life to the fullest, but the problem is when it becomes self serving. Wanting to feel “Good” and wanting to feel “Right” are two very different aspirations. Chasing after the “feel good” life leads often to physical and temporary pleasures that are great–sure–and meant to be experienced in life, but they always seem to leave you feeling empty. You feel like you are missing out on something–not reaching your potential… Because that good feeling is gone and you are now stuck in your head and all your confusing thoughts.
“But you said that the good moments are meant to be experienced in life!”
Yes. I did say that. The problem is a culmination of two things. First, the motivation behind why you want to “feel good”, and Second, the assumption and dangerous expectation that you have to feel good all the time or something is wrong with your life–or more dangerous a thought–someone IN your life is at fault for your lack of happiness. The latter is usually the common reaction due to the fact that this world has lost the humility to accept that a problem is their own and work in order to fix it. We live in an instant gratification world! And if we don’t get what we want, then we throw a fit. Sounds an awful lot like a 2-year-old doesn’t it? In this article, I hope to change your mindset from Instant gratification to Instant Gratitude when you encounter struggles with others that may cause unhappiness. Note the difference in dictionary terms below.
1. Take Stereotype out of your Vocabulary!
So, where to begin with this topic of discussion? We have to first address where assumptions actually stem from and originate. Stereotypes can be a vicious categorization based on facts we assume throughout interaction of one or more individuals correlated with a faction, belief system, race, body type, gender, or any other exploitable difference in humanity that makes us unique. The big downfall here is that we are basing everything we know about a group of people on the actions, successes, reactions, failures, let downs, hurts and even negative impressions we may have while interacting with ONE person that is associated with that group. This does NOT mean that all people within that group are the same. That is like saying, you are a male, therefore you are strong willed, beat women, you’re aggressive, a bully and eat like a madman–simply because I know someone with those character traits. Or in current news; it is like saying that just because a few cops made bad decisions and civilians were affected by it, ALL cops are corrupt and they are the enemy now. Racism and discrimination have always existed and are simply evolving to the most dominant argument that is occurring, whether it be through news, household issues, love interest struggles, parent-child issues. Anything can be turned into a discrimination feature. We just have to realize that we have the power to push people away or strengthen our bonds. I personally hate racism. It is a ridiculous and vile way to separate myself from my God given brothers and sisters in this world. And–stemming back to happiness as the topic–racism has never produced happiness, just creates walls. I could talk all day about my issues with racism, but that is for another article. Continuing on.
2. Don’t Over React!
Walls. When they are built up and block off passageways to connections between people, it tends to cause problems when someone springs a leak. Explosions of pent up emotions flood everywhere. Rash decisions are made in an analogous image of one survivor struggling to stay afloat, while drowning the other at the same time in the pursuit to end up on top. Assumptions are almost always the culprit of outbursts of emotion and more than not–someone gets deeply wounded in a way that will affect them for many years, if not for the rest of their life. When emotions get involved, relationships get tricky. At the same time though, emotions are the most intimate and vulnerable part of ourselves and sharing that with people is the essence of why we live. Sometimes that fact gets lost. Material possessions and goals set in and we forget the ones who helped us get there–who supported us along the way–who took the brute force of our frustrations when our walls sprung leaks–who patched the holes. Yet still, we over react based on our assumptions of the person, rather than who they actually are and who they have been. We can lose sight who we are spending time with in the present “MOMENT” that we live for, and going through that same moment alone isn’t as gratifying. Then we turn and ask, what is wrong here? Why is my life so difficult right now? And we see our friend there and ignoring the issues we have, we poke a finger into their chest and demand an explanation. Then, no matter what they say, it sets us off because we are already triggered and fired up. Over reacting is a serious killer of friendships and relationships. It is stirred up by the monster in the closet that is assuming when we need to look at the facts, rely on the actions of the people who we care about. Realize that people can change. People can be different than they appear. Labeling people can be detrimental to your ability to maintain friendships and even reconnect with past relationships. Peace comes when we give up of ourselves and invest in others without the hope of personal gain. It comes when we hear what people have to say. I had a conversation with a friend about what it would be like to be Professor X from the X-Men franchise. It was interesting because we discovered that it would be very hard to have conversations if you were hearing their thoughts. It would become more of a transfer of information rather than a heart to heart connection. You would know exactly what they were saying before they said it and know the history behind it and probably even get bored before they even finished. This is very much an accurate picture of assumption and what it can do to friendships. Friendships and relationships are hard! Are you courageous enough to stick with someone even if it is uncomfortable?
3. Stand Courageously!
We all have to be careful with this one. Courage does not mean over-confidence. Nor is it in any way aggressive. There is a point where you cease to merely stand up for something or representing something you value or desire, whether it be a belief, a choice, a way of life. You can easily cross over a line and a terrible transformation occurs if you are not careful. Instead it becomes public bashing of someone else’s beliefs and a dramatic misrepresentation of their way of life that tarnishes everyone’s opinion of them–even if they wish to be disconnected from the riots and the quarrels. Courage means to stand for something not to stomp someone else’s beliefs out.
Tread carefully friends… Winning an argument is one of those instant gratification things.. It will bring you temporary happiness, but it is NOT worth destroying someone over. If you want the right to be, live, and act a certain way, do not try and take the right that you seek from someone else just because a few people who call themselves a certain group disagreed with you. We can’t control others, but we can control ourselves. Be Responsible, Respectable, and Compassionate to those around you…
I am Proud to say that I am a Christian and part of my belief is spreading love and acceptance to EVERYONE I meet. Why do there have to be so many Christ haters out there, when no one really is taking the time to understand what he TRULY came here to do for us. Yes, that is my personal belief that you may not share, but my points is this.. Don’t judge someone before you Actually understand them.
I have no plans to judge anyone. No matter where their walk in life has led them. I seek to find out why people hurt and what will help them. People are valuable and deserve to be loved, no matter who they are or where they come from, what they believe, or how they choose to live. And that is whether I agree with it or not. Doesn’t matter. Love matters.
The root of courage is not being better or stronger or faster than those around you, but Loving those around you and helping them to grow into the men and women they are supposed to be.
Mark 21:31 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
4. Authentic Love is Key!
(Notice how I didn’t say “True” love.) I find it interesting that love doesn’t really mean what it was intended to mean. Not anymore at least. I was flipping through Hulu the other day (Interesting how 10 years ago it would have been flipping through the channels) when I came across “The Bachelorette”. I wrote an article about the Bachelor a few months ago and the despicable taint that it causes on relationships, but this was a different perception of the program. Love actually doesn’t exist anymore. Not Authentic love. The selfless unconditional love that we are meant to share with those we care about. True love in today’s definition represents a fictional romance that characters in a story yearn for and fight for, but it is only a “Kiss” at the end and the illusion that there is a deep connection between them that we never see. Love as told by the Media (or the Bachelorette and other relationship based programs) is simply a hoax. It is a big ploy to play with people’s hearts and manipulate them for selfish gain. That is not love! Many of the relationships started from shows like that fall apart anyway after only a few weeks, because the lovey dovey feeling goes away and the real work of a relationship kicks in. It gets hard. It gets tough. It gets messy. The struggles become real and get in your face and you have to be strong. Getting into a relationship is the easy part. It seems like people can’t handle the responsibility and selflessness and dedication that it takes to STAY in a relationship. It seems to me that in modern relationships, if you have to fight for it, work hard, don’t have that “Good” feeling all the time, or even are needed to stick with someone through a bad day, then the connection is void and it is not worth it. There are so many flaws in that. Love is supposed to be selfless and all encompassing. Love someone where they are at, not for what you want them to be. With that view on a person, no one will be happy. According to society, love’s only purpose is supposed to make YOU happy and if it doesn’t then it is okay to just walk away from–regardless of whether you are married or not. I’m sorry to say it, but that is cowardice and foolish and downright cruel. What happened to commitment. Discipline! Respect! Honor! Love is a myth in our society sadly enough. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. It’s not all dark and bleak. There are beautiful examples of relationships that we can gather insight from. If you look hard enough, you can find them. They are often humble and stay out of the spotlight. Their love is their own and not for any personal gain.
5. Never Give Up!
This last one is a motivation for you. A Hail Mary of sorts, to those of you who are in a tough spot with someone that you care about and don’t know what to do. You have addressed the situations we’ve discussed and you are willing to take a step forward with mending a friendship or a relationship. What do you do now? Where do you go from here?
Relax. Don’t stress over the details, in fact, don’t even worry about them. Worry and stress create problems that don’t even exist. Then they get over reacted and rash decisions are made. Call your friend, spouse, romantic interest up, set up a time to get together and just listen to what they have to say. Hear their story.
No friendship is truly lost or broken beyond repair. When we were kids, relationships were so much easier. Live life as a child. Nothing is impossible. Same goes with relationships. Just refuse to give up on them and things will work out. Going through hardships together only strengthens a bond. Blaming them and walking away is never the answer. You will be more unhappy and alone when you walk down that path. Your friends are worth more than your assumptions of what your relationship COULD BE. Appreciate them for who they are and what your relationship IS! Trust me. It will change everything.
Alright, that about wraps it up for today. Hopefully you found some gems of help in this article. It was fun to write and a bit longer than anticipated, but until next time!