by Annette Bridges. ©2010. All rights reserved.
I’ve been proven wrong so many times, you would think I would stop making presumptions.
Presumption has been defined as “an attitude dictated by probability,” “acceptance or belief based on reasonable evidence, assumption or supposition,” or “grounds, reason, or evidence lending probability to belief.” An additional and important part of its definition is that presumptions often become “accepted as true” while yet “not certainly known.”
Undoubtedly, countless myths, bad advice and tall tales have been misleading and misinforming people for years, decades or centuries. When we presume that we know something to be true before we really do, envy, jealousy and false accusation can result. This has been my experience.
Recently, I was surprised — or perhaps shocked is a more accurate word — to learn that someone who I thought was happy, successful and satisfied with his life wasn’t. It turns out that many of the presumptions I held to be true about this person were completely wrong.
So, why the big surprise? The presumptions I believed were not based on personal knowledge or fact but rather assumption and supposition. I’m not so sure that assumption and supposition should ever be grouped in the same category as reasonable evidence, since there is often nothing reasonable about many of the assumptions we make. Or at least my own assumptions are usually lacking reason!
I think the problem is that reason needs the correct premise. Presumptions can be based on a wrong premise, and I think often are. So, no surprise when a wrong conclusion is reached.
Perhaps you’re like me and tired of being wrong so often. It may be time we implement some changes. First, a good dose of humility could be helpful. In order to not be stubbornly certain about something, we can be humble, which can help us remain open-minded, teachable, changeable, flexible and adaptable.
Some presumptions may be based on the old adage — “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” This could be when we look at others and think they are happier than we are, which leads us to conclude that surely life is better down the street, next door or across the country.
Such presumptions speak volumes about our own attitudes. Being envious or jealous of others — or simply paying constant attention to what others are doing — does nothing to improve our lives or make our circumstances better. An attitude adjustment may be what’s needed.
I’ve learned that the only way to change my attitude is to improve my understanding of identity and self-image. And that my friends, requires use of spiritual senses!
While our physical senses may see lack and limitation, our spiritual senses tell us God has given us everything we need and that there are infinite opportunities and resources within our grasp. Our spiritual senses affirm that God has endowed us with talents and abilities uniquely ours — that each of His children has an own important mission and purpose.
Our physical senses often focus more on what we don’t have or what can’t be seen. But our spiritual senses enable us to be grateful for what we do have and encourage our hope and expectancy for the possibility of what is yet to come and be experienced. And our spiritual senses promise good.
Finally, another good practice could be to base our judgments and understanding about something or someone more on actually proven or provable facts, rather than presumptions based on mere hearsay, implications or assumptions.
Perhaps we can become a bit like Dragnet’s Joe Friday when he said, “All we want are the facts, ma’am.” Basing opinions and viewpoints on the facts surely will keep us from being wrong so much of the time.
My ultimate plan is to stop assuming and presuming altogether! Making presumptions about others can become a preoccupation that stops us from improving upon our own life journey.
And we do each have our own unique life journey to be about. Yes, these days I feel an incredible freedom now that I’m more focused on my life journey rather than what I presume others are doing or not doing. Something tells me I’m on the right track!