Friday, July 25, 2014

How I'm letting go of assumptions

How much time does it take to slap on an assumption about what someone said or did? A minute or less, right?

I’ve done it sometimes, and I bet, you must have too. At least, at some point in your life, on a bad day or good, while at work or at a party, while listening to someone speak or while people watching at the airport, while talking to other mothers or munching popcorn with a bunch of pals.

We do it and it gets done to us more often than we’d like to or like it to. An assumption or a judgment waltzes into our mind at the snap of our fingers, and if we’re not careful, it tumbles out of our mouth like a stone aimed at the other’s heart.

Till a few months back, when one came hurtling my way, I’d cringe and simmer, justify and explain. But over the years, having wasted enough time licking my wounds, I’ve decided to let these wash over me. Yes, I still don’t like them, but I’m getting better at dealing with them. I'm working at slowing down these assumptions - not the speed or volume at which they come at me because I can't control that, but the way I take to them and the ones that I mistakenly send out.

Here's how I’m working at working through assumptions that come my way.

Growing a ‘waterproof skin’. I’d love to get a thick skin like a rhino’s, but since I haven’t been able to grow that, I’ll run with the waterproof one. Just like your raincoat… to help the assumptions roll away. So, with a good shake I can let go of all those drops that have collected on my shoulder.

Acknowledging that assumptions made about me aren’t my business. If someone wants to form an opinion on what I do or don’t do, that’s how they want to think. 

Staying grounded. Our footing and our calm are the first to go when we let someone hurt us with a personal opinion. Self-doubt is the next that comes creeping in, shaking the foundations of who we are. I’ve learnt this from my husband – he seldom lets anything shake up his sense of calm or his belief in himself, in us or in the haven we call home. Opinions, assumptions, judgments – they are finally someone else’s views about us. So, why let that shake up our belief in ourselves? Finally, who knows you the best – you yourself or the person conveying this opinion?

Understanding and accepting that I can’t please everyone, all the time. As long as we are humans, as long as we’re a quirky bundle of imperfections and goodness, there’ll often (if not always) be something someone might not like about us. The way we walk or talk, the way we dress, the things we buy or don’t buy, the way we bring up our children (ah! this is a hornet’s nest, when it comes to assumptions), the kind of work we do or don’t do…just living our daily life can bring forth speculation and errant comments. So, the only way to stay free of the weight of assumptions is to live a life true to yourself. Do what you love, be who you are, be the kind of mother you are, be kind to others. 

Accepting that assumptions and suggestions come thick and fast in this realm of motherhood, more often than less from other mothers.  There are those mothers, who offer wise words that are salve for a new mom’s soul; while there are quick words and statements from others who may not like the way I mother. While the latter still makes me cringe (because hey, aren’t we all working hard and doing our best to bring up our kids and really), I’ve accepted that there will always be comments and there’ll always be suggestions. What I take and what I don’t are my prerogatives. And I can safely leave the rest behind, so I can enjoy this journey called motherhood. 

Promising to hold back my own assumptions about others, especially mothers and their parenting methods. Motherhood is the most difficult job on earth and we can make it a wee bit easier on ourselves and on each other by letting go of quick assumptions. Discipline and daily life, patience and play, love and lolling around with the kids, teaching and training…each facet will look different for each of us. Since all of us are doing the best we can, letting the judgments lie low can make motherhood more of a celebration than comparison. 

Letting go of assumptions. Period. The ones I might unerringly make. The ones others make about me.


  1. Very well described Chandana ; and it takes a lot to put your views in words, at least , it is so for keep it going..cheers - tina

  2. That's a wonderful thing you are doing. Great going!


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