There is a school of psychology that teaches the concept that every person sees the world through their own perceptions. So essentially, two people can see a single event and it means completely different things to them and affect them in different ways. The world is all about perception. How we perceive things is the reality for each and every person. Whether it’s assumptions between exes as you climb the summit of co-parenting; relationships with two people blending their lives and baggage together or even co-workers struggling to reach the same career goals. It’s these assumptions and perceptions that inevitably lead to conflict. Let’s take the everyday personal conflict one step further, assumptions can be a slippery slope to discrimination. How many cruel words have been said, feelings hurt and rejection felt from questions that could have been asked or words are spoken? How easy is it to assume you know what someone’s life is like? Why not take the time to ask or learn? Nothing is harder than asking the awkward question or open that line of communication in a real and genuine way. I promise it’s received so much better than a crude joke or behind the back laughter or bible verses tossed at someone misunderstood. Don’t make up a story for someone’s life because you don’t know. It’s always easier to create a picture or image out of simple ignorance or lack of knowledge than take the time to understand or talk. Take yourself out of the small world you live in and consider the possibility of a whole world existing our there beyond your door.
So I’ve read about a monastery that has a weekly meeting that just spends a couple hours every Tuesday as a sort of briefing for the week. This simple meeting is the place where communication is utilized without judgment. If one guy didn’t do his chore and another is pissed off, they talk about it. Often times it’s as simple as someone assuming the other person had it and they thought the same. That miscommunication led to a week of unnecessary anxiety and possibly even turmoil in that person's life when it’s was something easily solved with words. So that one night a week they hash it out, and the harmony that ensues after is magical. Everyone leaves the session without regret or any resentment that typically result from words not said and assumptions made. Resentment is the direct result of words not said compounded over time. I know it’s a silly concept but how much awesomeness could come if you spent an hour or two each week with your loved one, your spouse, your co-workers and just hashed things out? Okay maybe hash is too gruff of a word, maybe talk. Just a few minutes to see things from their perspective or just consider that they have a completely different perspective? Get uncomfortable and say the hard things. Communication isn’t easy, it’s uncomfortable and hard but essential. Don’t assume you know. Talk.