DEAF TO THE OTHER VIEW
PEOPLE WHO THINK THEIR BELIEFS ARE IRREFUTABLY TRUE ARE BLOCKING THEIR OWN DEVELOPMENT
Assumptions. They can really make an ass out of you and me. That’s an old chestnut whose truth is still resonating today.
Working with many people and more particularly in this instance with men as a personal coach, I find time and again that the things that block development or prevent change are the assumptions that their beliefs are unshakeably true.
When I challenge a client to tell me where their beliefs come from they will often respond that they have always believed that particular thing to be true. In other words their beliefs about themselves and their place in the world have been acquired when they were very young and were influenced by the environment and the people who were largest in their lives at that time.
With the view that their beliefs are unshakeably true, assumptions and judgments about people, places, situations and others’ behaviour create conflict in the work, relationship, community and family setting. The terms right and wrong get thrown around as though the person has access to the absolute truth because they believe it and make the assumption that everyone sees the world as they do – except for those who don’t and they can’t be trusted.
It can be challenging to acknowledge that everyone’s truth is different because everyone’s story is different, so no one sees or experiences the world the same as any other person. Assumption and judgment, teamed with a lack of compassion and curiosity, put the lid on any opportunity for developing effective relationships. And interestingly this includes the relationship with ourself.
If we take the time to challenge our beliefs or even to reflect by asking “where does that belief come from? Given whom I desire to be, does it serve me in the best way?” we can usually find a pathway from ignorance to knowledge in looking back down our timeline and can identify times, experiences or events where we were changed by the circumstance and our beliefs changed.
It is both amusing and sad that people are so dogmatic in holding on to their beliefs even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Once the world was believed to be flat, that the sun revolved around the Earth and that climate change was a myth.
What are you assuming and how is that affecting you and others?