Checking Assumptions

One of Sylvia Plath’s devastatingly imagetic poems is called ‘Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor’.Part of it goes…’Grass put forth claws,Small mud knobs,nudged from under,Displaced their domes as tiny Knights might doff their casques.The crabs…..(omitted material)….sidled out in a converging stream…..(omitted material)….Could they feel mud Pleasurable under claws As I could between bare toes?That question ended it–I stood shut out,for once,for all,Puzzling the passage of their Absolutely alien Order……..(omitted material)…

Plath could only assume the experience of the crabs.Similarly,most of us tend to assume the experience of other people even though they are NOT crabs.So many arguments and hard attitudes come about because of the lack of checking assumptions.No matter how obvious it is to you,it is worth the question to check whether the other person has the motivation that you think they have.So often it is not so and all that has happened is that our favourite prejudice has kicked in.

In almost every setting, checking your assumptions is likely to provide an alternative explanation,not related to rejecting you,as to why someone is doing something or seems fed up.If it is related to you then the possibility of clarifying and problem solving can allow resolution.

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