Whether this story is in fact true or not, it still rings true for me as a reminder in terms of the vast mistakes we can make when we dare to make assumptions about another human being, or another situation — it also means we will potentially be making the same assumptions about ourselves in some way.
One night President Obama and his wife Michelle decided to do something out of routine and go for a casual dinner at a restaurant that wasn’t too luxurious.
When they were seated, the owner of the restaurant asked the president’s secret service if he could please speak to the First Lady in private. They obliged and Michelle had a conversation with the owner.
Following this conversation President Obama asked Michelle, “Why was he so interested in talking to you?”
She replied that in her teenage years, he had been madly in love with her.
President Obama then said, “So if you had married him, you would now be the owner of this lovely restaurant?”
To which Michelle responded, “No Dear, if I had married him, he would now be President!”
This story shows me the arrogance of us all, at some point. It has nothing to do with male versus female or quick wit in the moment. I wonder how many times a day I make a mis-judgement, some form of error or a minor false accusation (even without intending to be malicious or hurtful in any way).
Often we are just not “emotionally aware” enough to see what is really the story behind the story that we see, feel and perceive — we simply and simplistically want the way we assume things to BE the truth for e.g. in the case of the president above. We want to be correct and proven right — thus our inability to see the truth because of what it might enforce us to believe about ourselves, can lead to potentially grave errors. Errors that keep us stuck in a small point of view.
So when I read this, it made me stop and think about where do I tend to make arrogant assumptions, about YOU, me and the next person. How much kinder could our world be if we did in fact ask the right questions, rather than assume we know all the answers.
I am most guilty of this when it comes to intimate relationships – I tend bring so much of my stuff like past pain, past, jealousy and all the other ugly shadow aspects I don’t ever want to admit. And here comes the self judgement — that because of the work that I do and the message I spread in the world, that I “should” have it all better together. But blow me down, I can get into that dangerously assumptive space like a teenager reduced to ridiculousness. Then in other areas I feel like I’m flying high at tertiary level, passing cum lade. Such is the lesson of life that we have to grow through. But there they are — my assumptions that I continue to work on, be friend, cajole them out of the wood work, break pieces of real wood to help me break through the barrier. And yes, I see relief and shifts, but I know there can always be more too. So I constantly work on the angle of where am I making assumptions that will make me play out the old scenarios linked to past baggage rather than help me to step up into a new form of relationship. Maybe your glitch is also relationships, or perhaps it shows itself in career, finances, health, family?
I am interested in the letting go of the assumptions that keep me small so I can be more fully present with YOU, in this moment. Leaving my own old lenses with which I can view the world beside me, and be willing to step across the threshold of vulnerability….
So my challenge to myself and to you, dear reader, is to go about your day and your week questioning your motives, your intentions and your assumptions. When you find that someone makes an incorrect assumption about you, why not see if you can let them down gently and put the “record” straight so to speak. Help open their eyes and hearts. See if you can do your level best to stop perpetuating assumptions about what can and can’t be done. What you can and can’t be achieved, where money does and doesn’t come from. To attempt to be more expansive, open, willing trusting and playful.
And of course, as always, I’d love to hear your views so please leave me a comment or interact with me on my facebook page here