Have you ever wondered how many times you say or think “I assumed” in the course of one day? How many things are taken for granted based on what you assume to be the truth? How many times do you find yourself jumping to conclusions based on issues without evidence? Probably more than you would like to believe. We all make assumptions. We assume what people are thinking, what people are doing, and the reasons why they do them. We also assume many things about people based on their physical appearance. Overweight equals overeating? Too skinny equals anorexia? Bald equals cancer?
Last week, in the course of just a few short hours, my bald head was the victim of multiple assumptions. I’ve been bald for ten years; I’m (almost) immune to the cancer assumption. I know, get over it—bald means cancer. I get it! But what if we lived in a world where awareness superseded assumptions and that awareness opened your mind to other possibilities, such as bald equals choice or bald equals genetics or bald equals alopecia?
Assumptions can stifle your ability to observe and learn. My baldness has provided me a gift of curiosity and the ability to see other possibilities. It’s provided me with the ability to see situations from other angles. It’s provided me with the ability not to intervene with an assumption that may hurt someone’s feelings. Bald—the gift that keeps on giving.
Susan M. Beausang