Do your assumptions trip you up?

Mine did. Literally. Tripped me up.

Here’s the evidence. In full colour, an unretouched photo.

Me with blackened eye

So…how did I get a black eye, and how does it relate to assumptions?

I tripped on a curb. Well, not a curb exactly. I was stepping onto the accessibility ramp that transitions the pavement to the sidewalk.

There was no snow or ice. I was not in a hurry. I was not distracted by my phone or iPod. I did not faint and then fall. I was wearing flat shoes that are old friends. There was no obvious reason for this to happen. 

Fortunately there was no other damage so I picked myself up and carried on to my appointment. On my way back to the car, I took the same route to see why I’d tripped on the ramp. I noticed that the front edge was about 3/4 inch higher than the pavement. My toe caught on that very small lip. Go figure!

As I’m inclined to do, I wondered about why this happened and what there was for me to learn. Clearly it wasn’t to be more careful or to wear safer shoes, so I left the question open and carried on with other things.

About a week later, it hit me. An assumption had tripped me up. When I saw the ramp from a distance, I assumed there was a seamless transition with the pavement. There wasn’t. But I proceeded on the basis of my assumption and experienced the consequences.

Then I started wondering if this is a metaphor that goes beyond curbs and black eyes. What other assumptions do I make, and how are they tripping me up in various aspects of my life—work and relationships, for example. I’m on a mission to become aware of these assumptions over the next few weeks.

Wellness is another area of life where our assumptions trip us up. The consequence usually is that they prevent us from taking charge of our health. Here are a few of these limiting assumptions and fresh perspectives to think about.

Limiting AssumptionFresh Perspective
There’s something wrong with my body, and I have to fix it.My body is able to heal itself. My job is to provide the right conditions. more here
It’s in my family. I’ve inherited ____________ and there’s nothing I can do about it.My genetics only indicate a tendency for certain conditions. More than 85% of my genes respond to what I eat and how I think. I can make health-sustaining choices if I decide to. more here
Symptoms are the enrmy. They are so inconvenient. I’m glad there are medications I can take to get rid of them. Symptoms are my friend. They are my body's way of telling me something. This gives me a chance to get to the root of the discomfort and put things right. more here
Sure, I experienced some trauma in my childhood. But I’m a grown-up now and I’ve moved past it. Forget it.Yes, I experienced traumas in my childhood. I coped by hiding them in my subconscious so I could carry on. I know they can be affecting me now, and I intend to release them. more here
I'm just the patient. The doctor is the expert and will tell me what to do.My doctor and I are partners in sorting out my health issues and deciding what to do. more here
I’ve had a lot of bad luck, and other people make it impossible for me to be well and happy.I’m the only one who has the power to limit me. I am also the one who has the power to increase my resilience. more here

If you have identified other assumptions, I’d love to hear from you. And the last word goes to Ginger Rogers…

2 thoughts on “Do your assumptions trip you up?

  1. I so enjoyed this blog! I relate to your experience that resulted in the magnificent black eye, although my bruises were on a less visible part of my body!

    This is such a wise and practical perspective. Our assumptions do indeed “trip us up” and get us into all kinds of trouble.

    Thank you.

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