Are You Aware of Your Assumptions?
When travelling to or living in other countries we can’t help but become aware your own assumptions.
I went to Paris as a nanny in my early twenties. Leaving my hometown in Germany behind on the train to Paris, I felt excited. I was eager to immerse myself in a different culture and learn to speak French. I was looking forward to eating croissants, listening to accordion music in the streets, discovering the hidden parks and getting to know the Parisians.When I began meeting people in Paris, they always said “je t’appelle” as we parted, which translates into “I will give you a call.” I quite enjoyed their initiative to meet again.
However, not a single person followed through on their promise to call me. I got more and more frustrated with these empty promises. Eventually I realized that I was understanding the Parisians “je t’appelle” based on my assumption that “people do what they say.” This assumption was rooted in my German heritage. As I learned, my assumption didn’t apply in France, at least not in Paris. “Je t’appelle” mouthed by a Parisian merely meant “nice to meet you” or “see you.” It didn’t translate into “I will give you a call.” Once I was aware of my assumption, I was able to translate “je t’appelle” in culturally appropriate terms. As I became more aware of my assumptions, my stay in Paris became a lot more pleasant. When travelling to or living in other countries we can’t help but become aware your own assumptions.
However, we always operate based on assumptions whether we are aware of it or not. Assumptions can be rooted in your cultural heritage, based on your life-experience, upbringing, family situation, social status, generation, character, strengths and values.When faced with a difficult situation or a conflict, chances are that your assumptions and sometimes the assumptions of at least one other person are at play.
Seize the opportunity to become aware of your and other people’s assumptions.
- What am I assuming in this situation? – take notes
- What might I see, if I let go of these assumptions and open myself up to other possibilities? – take notes
- If applicable: What assumptions may others be holding? – take notes
- Given my new insights, what are possible next steps towards a solution? – take notes
- Revisit your notes, choose your next step and most importantly TAKE IT!
As you become more aware, enjoy making decisions that go beyond your assumptions; decisions that truly serve you and others.
Share your discoveries with other readers on my blog. Thank you! :)
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