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Know when to alter your gut instinct

Making an assumption is the act of taking something for granted or accepting it as true without proof. You can call it a hypothesis, a theory, a belief, or a best guess.

Making an assumption is the act of taking something for granted or accepting it as true without proof. You can call it a hypothesis, a theory, a belief, or a best guess.

Unfortunately, sometimes assumptions can make life way more difficult because we can make erroneous leaps and come up with beliefs that are based on opinion not fact.

Apparently, the more experience and training you have in a field the more likely you will make an inaccurate assumption if presented with a unique circumstance that does not follow the expected progression or fit in the usual framework.

If the situation does fit the expected or usual text book sequence, then expertise will help us make assumptions that save time and allow us to skip forward through a problem without reinventing the wheel.

For example, some psychological cases are universal and I can make assumptions about what the client is feeling or thinking because I have heard hundreds of other people tell me the same thing.

If my assumptions are right, typically their response is something like, "How did you know that?" or "You really get me."

If my assumptions are wrong, typically their response is to shake their head and try to tell me again or just look at my funny because they feel like I'm a little thick for not getting it.

We all make assumptions and they are necessary to speed choices up. The problem arises when we refuse to let go of our preconceived notions that led to our beliefs.

Our initial impressions

only help up us to initially categorize things into things we like or dislike, things that are safe or unsafe, and things that are similar or foreign to us.

We have a tendency to only see the evidence that supports our initial gut instinct, but it's important to try and stay open to observing and hearing the evidence that contradicts our assumptions.

Not everything fits neatly into a category despite how much me might want it to.

I actually like discovering that my assumptions are wrong because I find it interesting to know that the situation or the person is unique.

I find unpredictable things more fascinating, so when a client says, "No. That's not exactly how it felt for me," I'm all ears.

I want to know why their experience is different than the average person and what it is about them or the situation that breaks it from the text book mould.

People make inaccurate assumptions about me all the time.

Partly because I'm introverted and I don't always outwardly show what I'm thinking or feeling, so people often find it difficult to find external clues that will help them read me.

It is also partly because I'm a Gemini and as soon as someone thinks they have me figured out, I do something that is more consistent with the other side of my personality and it throws them off.

I don't mind being misunderstood, but it does bother me if I specifically tell someone about myself and they won't hear it simply because it doesn't fit with who they have already determined me to be.

It is frustrating to tell someone your preferences and explain your needs and then have them insist that you should want something different.

They are assuming that they know you better than you know yourself and I find it incredibly disrespectful.

Make all the assumptions and snap decisions that you want, but always be on the look out for information that is trying to tell you that you're wrong or that you're missing something.

People who seem decent and good might turn around and betray you. People who look sketchy or dangerous might turn around and protect you when it matters most.

The signs are always there right from the beginning and you can see them if you don't hold on too rigidly to your initial expectations and assumptions.

I once heard the famous poet, Maya Angelou say something that was very meaningful to me.

It was something to the effect that when someone tells you something about him/herself, it's best to believe them. I think it's good advice.

Danielle Aldcorn is a registered clinical counsellor at the Satori Integrative Health Centre, 12004 No. 1 Rd.