Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Making an ass out of u and umption.

About eight years, ago, I dated a 31- or 32-year-old woman who taught my 23- or 24-year-old ass a whole helluva lot - and I'm not talking about sex, either.

We'd have discussions about other people - how they act and react. I'd mention how if I said X, they'd hear Y, and how this affected me. She told me something I don't think I will *ever* forget:

That's their problem. Don't make it yours.

So simple, yet so powerful.
I say just what I mean. Sometimes I slip, like we all do, but I'm usually very deliberate in the way that I express my points and opinions. If I say, for instance, that I'm in favor of paternity tests, regardless of who my partner is, that's what I mean. If I compare this to prenuptial agreements, then that's just what I'm doing - comparing. If someone assumes this means that prenups have paternity clauses, that person made an unnecessary assumption. Now, that's not the worst thing in the world, and I'll gladly attempt to correct that assumption, but when it persists, as it and others did, in a recent discussion, that's clearly not due to a communication failure on my part.

I'm not the only one who spends time complaining how about things are here or there. Plenty of people have a problem with male/female relations, racial relations, political relations, etc. Complaining about these things implies that one would like for them to improve. Pointing to the failures of others suggests one would like for those individuals to improve.

Expecting all of this improvement from others without but not from oneself sounds too much like hypocrisy.

Having said that, one might ask, "What about you, Mr. West? You do your fair share of complaining, but I keep seeing you end up in the same kinds of arguments. Maybe you need to do a little 'home improvement' before you spend too much time inspecting other people's business."

No doubt. While I'm pointing one finger at others, I have three or four more pointing back at me. I know this and I work on me every single day of my life. I'm not holding anyone else to standards higher than those I hold myself up to.

This is highly evident to those who look closely enough. Am I perfect? HELL NO. My girlfriend can damn-sure tell you that. But know that while I tell her (and any other girlfriends I have or may ever have) that paternity tests must be a given, I'm also taking my ass to get tested for AIDS - AND SHOWING HER THE RESULTS. Yes. I could just *tell* her that I took these tests, but instead I show her. Same standard.

I'm not saying I don't ever make any assumptions. In fact, it's necessary to make certain reasonable assumptions, all the time. However, it's the unreasonable assumptions I've got a problem with and do my very best to avoid - or to recognize when they're pointed out to me.

So, no, I'm *not* assuming any girlfriend or wife I may have is a liar by wanting paternity tests. I'm not assuming she's lying. I'm not making ANY assumptions - other than that the paternity tests will be reliable enough.

Now, I've focused on that recent discussion quite a bit here, but that's not all I'm talking about. It's unnecessary assumptions, as a whole, that eat away at our high potential for clear and open communication. These assumptions rear their ugly heads at many times and in many ways.

All I can do is recognize them in myself or others and then act accordingly. Your assumptions are your problem. I do what I can not to make them mine.


Son of Blog-El said...

See, post like this are why I like you brother. Uh oh, 'nother time jump com...

West said...

Thanks, man.