Sunday, September 10, 2006


Redneck Mother, who should have been listed in my wish list of yesterday except that her idea was so great that I wanted to save it for today, wrote a post called Assume Nothing. She picked up the idea at a conference and she and her family are working with it. She explains it like this.
This is another way of saying, as therapists are wont to do, that before you address a problem you should figure out who owns it and whether it's a biggie or a smallie. Spotting and challenging assumptions is a handy tool for letting go of some of that should and shouldn't crap folks absorb growing up without knowing why -- stuff that gets in the way of everyday pleasure or convenience for no real reason.
I have another friend who has been working with this same conflict resolution tool in an energy class she is taking. The first time she said, "Someone else owns that problem. That one is not yours." I thought that she was trying to get me to take an easy way out of a problem. I, also, thought, "Maybe, but I still have to live with the other person's behavior and anger." Then, the beauty of the tool was realized. If I am able to understand the assumptions of others, and understand my own assumptions, I am able own my baggage and purge if necessary and not feel guilty if I don't meet the expectations of others. Yes, this is more difficult than it seems. Here are a few of my assumptions:
  • Really, you shouldn't wear white shoes or pants after Labor Day unless they are the proper shade of winter white.
  • Table manners were devised for a reason. Use them so you won't offend.
  • A person has a right to a bit of privacy. Don't show up unannounced or use my stuff without asking.
  • You must give 110% to any project you agree to do.
  • My opinion has value, so I should be able to voice it without interruption.

What are yours?


Susan Sister said...

Most of your assumptions are my assumptions... I'm alittle confused. Are you saying it is ok to wear white shoes after labor day or not give 110%? I have to go back re-read your column... I'm sorry I was just afraid you were going to start chewing with your mouth full and wearing white shoes.

wisteria said...

Surely, you are not serious!!! If you ever see me in white shoes or pants after Labor Day or using offensive table manners you can be assured the person is an impostor. I was saying that I assume people know these "rules" and judge based on these rules. Others may not know the rules so cannot be fairly judged with the same set of criteria even if that is my assumption.

A classic example of the fallacy of assumption was when the Pink Panther walked into the local barber and mentioned Huck Finn's haircut. He had assumed that everyone, including the barber, had read Huck Finn when apparently no one had, leaving the barber asking who are Huck Finn's relations so he could figure out who the heck Huck Finn is.

Susan Sister said...

Ok - well it is our job to give 110% and make the world aware of these assumptions(just kidding) (well,sort of kidding) I get it - I just scanned the first time round....I guess also one of my assumptions that always gets me in trouble is that I assume people are more perceptive than they really are about other people's assumptions.... This would probably take an entire blog to describe. But for now I can sleep knowing that you will not be wearing white shoes this month.

Anonymous said...

One of mine is that c... is a word for which a great number of descriptive replacements exist.

If one must quote, use c...

EE(W)S lives.

Susan Sister said...

I am laughing out loud..."ANONYMOUS"
She lives... I don't sweat, I perspire, I don't lie, I fib and I certainly don't have kids, I have children...

Frankie said...

I had to think about this for 24 hours before responding. (tired brain)

My number 1 is on your list: Don't show up unannounced, and don't use my stuff.

What really struck me was that comment about this not being your problem, it's soneone else's. I think that's very powerful and I will take that one with me, thank you very much. =) I think that will be my mantra for a few weeks.

wisteria said...

Frankie, It is powerful. But, it is even more powerful when you own your own baggage and deal with it. No, I won't be wearing white shoes after Labor Day, but I know that it is my issue and that if 50 people show up to a Halloween party in white shoes that the discomfort is mine and not there problem. This one is not a fair example because it is so silly, but if I haven't communicated my expectations how can I expect them to not wear white shoes to my party. If my expectations are not logical, then I am the owner of the faulty logic and need to find out why I feel so strongly.

mull-berry said...

What if white shoes are part of their costume? Is okay then? : )

I think the "white shoe" rule is more lax in the hotter climates, say Phoenix ... besides, when it does get cool, who would want to wear white anyway? The rule around our house was just keep your shoes ON until Memorial Day! :)

wisteria said...

Truly, you can come to my house dressed whatever you like. You just won't find me in white unless it is a costume because all the social rules were so instilled in me from birth. What about nurse shoes? Do they even wear white shoes anymore? I will have to remember to look next time I take my children for a check-up.

Mother Crone's Homeschool said...

Lvoign this thread. I have lived by a simialr "I don't own that" and work hard at teaching my children to own their own issues. Psych background in action...but they are very mature in the matter of drawing distinctions.
My #1 rule- Don't be late. It is rude and selfish, and says that you undervalue the person or activity you have committed to by having them wait for you.
I also have a big thing about showing up unannounced and using my stuff.
I agree about white shoes, but white majorette boots are okay all the time, right? (Sweet Potato Queen style!)

wisteria said...

Anything the Sweet Potatoes do is fine by me. They deserve the lark.

I hate lateness, too. I, too, feel it is disrespectful and selfish.

JoVE said...

The white pants thing is funny. I currently don't have any jeans and my fall pants aren't really suitable for camping. I have summer pants -- white linen men's pants from Gap (that are amazingly very good and durable), chinos, navy linen pants that I've been wearing for 3 years. Since I was going away for 2 weeks, I figured I needed 3 pair of pants. But that think about white after labour day did cross my mind. It was something my mother talked about. But I let it go. And it was remarkably easy to do. Those pants are so comfortable, I wish i'd bought more and dyed a couple pair.

wisteria said...

Jove, I'm glad you are back! I am not a clothes horse, yet that white shoes and pants thing just won't leave. It is just too ingrained. I have found a solution to my madness. I never buy white. Gross staining stuff just finds its way towards whatever I am wearing and white shoes and red clay do not work well together.

I, personally, don't judge those who wear white after Labor Day. It is not important in the big picture so why bother. But, I just can't bring myself to wear it.