When we talk with people we have never met on the phone, we naturally observe their voice and make assumptions about them based on their voice. I speak in a unique way, which is often called a speech impediment. People naturally make assumptions based on the sound of my voice and I can understand how easy that is to do. I know that if I had never met myself and heard the sound of my voice on the phone, I would probably also make mistaken assumptions about my intellect and ability to function in the world.
Gentle ways exist of showing people that the assumptions they make about us aren’t true. For example, since I realize that people I have just met might naturally make assumptions about me based on my speech, I take care to converse with them in an intelligent manner.
They then know by the content of what I bring to our conversation that their assumptions are not accurate. On other occasions, I just say at the beginning of our conversation that my speech is unique and if they have any problem understanding me to ask for clarification.
What mistaken assumptions do people commonly make about you upon first meeting you? What would be some gentle ways of showing them that these assumptions are not accurate?
Far more important even than the mistaken assumptions other people make about us are the mistaken assumptions we make about the nature of our own limitations. For example, at different points in my life, I assumed that because of coordination issues, I could not write more than a few sentences longhand, wash dishes or do yoga. Now I fill up notebooks with my writings and often go to yoga class six or seven times a week.
And I discovered that I’m a pro at washing dishes. OK, I admit it, sometimes I let them pile-up before I take responsibility for washing them. But eventually I get the job done
What mistaken assumptions have you made about yourself in the past and since disproven?
These reflections make me curious about the mistaken assumptions we believe about ourselves that we still hold as accurate. These are the assumptions that make us say, I can’t, as if it is the cold hard truth, when in fact it could just be a misunderstanding of ourselves.
From a lifetime of experience with a so-called speech impediment, I know that there can be a great deal of room for misunderstanding. We especially have a tendency to misunderstand what we are truly capable of. It often takes patience and courage to get past our misunderstandings of ourselves. The reward is once we get past these misunderstandings, we are freer to live a confident life and pursue our dreams.
Game of the Day
When you listen to yourself and look at your life, what assumptions do you make about your limits?
How would your life be different if you had the confidence that these were mistaken assumptions and not accurate?