Earlier this year my wife, Rosie, left a career she’d been building for 31+ years. She was an engineering supervisor and, by all accounts, very good at what she did. The job had become very stressful, and she chose to live her life on her terms over continuing with the stress. I’m very proud of her for both all she accomplished and making this difficult decision.
Rosie is now working at supporting me and us. There are the things she’s been doing around the house, some of which we’ve wanted to do for ten years. She is also doing an increasing number of things to make our business more successful, and my workload lighter.
Not long ago Rosie and I were discussing how things are going. I had been a little worried about my contributions around the house, as I was not doing as much as I had been while she worked. I was learning to let go of the need to do things and was carrying some presumed guilt for not doing as much recently.
One evening while chatting about how things were going, I told Rosie of my concern for how much I’m not doing around the house. I put it something like; “I assume you’re OK with what I’m doing and not doing around the house.”
She assured me I was doing fine, and then told me she had the same concerns from the other direction. In other words, she was concerned I wouldn’t be happy with her level of contribution to our lives and work. I, of course, said I loved what she was doing.
We were both holding assumptions that were bothering us. How easy would it have been to have those assumptions become conflict through a total lack of communication between us?
Thought of the week
I have found when I hold assumptions about someone they rarely reflect reality. Much like in the story above, I am far better off discarding the assumption as it would mean I could have stronger relationships with those around me.
There are two ways I get rid of my assumptions. The first is, much like in the story above, I have a conversation with the person who I hold an assumption about. Very quickly I learn the truth, and it becomes easy for my assumption to melt away.
The second approach happens when I don’t have the opportunity for a conversation. Without the conversation, it’s more difficult to let go of my story, and yet it’s still doable. In these cases, I start by acknowledging the assumption. I then ask myself if I’m ready to let go of it. The answer is not always “yes” right away, but when I say do say “yes,” the assumption starts to melt.
The relationships in my life have become richer since I started to let go of my assumptions. It all begins with the statement “I’m assuming …” Are you ready to let go of your stories?