What Did You Expect?
What impression of this woman do you get from the picture? Is she tired? Lonely? Deep in thought? Does she have friends or family nearby she’s waiting on? Now go a little deeper… what’s her name? What’s her home life like? Does she believe in God? What does she do for a living? What are her dreams?
This leaves a lot up to the imagination, doesn’t it? If you assume she is homeless or a beggar, it’s easy to believe her family could be dysfunctional. What if you assumed she was just tired, worn out from a long day at the market with her friends and needing to rest her feet? Her life would seem joyful and exciting. What if you believed she was praying? Would you see her as a woman of faith? Any of these could be true.
Now think about the people you meet every day. What assumptions do you make about them? We often get partial information about people – we know their names, jobs, or families – but how often do we dig deeper? Do we really see what motivates those around us? Or do we make our conclusions based on what we’ve seen, coupled with the reasons we make up?
Ninety-nine percent of conflicts are the result of mismatched expectations. Often, we expect people to react to life based on the unconscious assumptions we make about them, whether they are close to the truth or far from it. So it’s wise to continually re-evaluate our opinions of others. Let them tell their story. Let them share their dreams & passions. Maybe you’ll see them from a different perspective.
When was the last time you made an assumption about someone and were proved wrong?