I recently found myself telling a repetitive story— you know, one of those that everyone who I come into contact with just has to hear.
When asked about my Ironman St. George training, I had the same prepared answer: “Well, I knew it would be hard. But I assumed I would get a least a few long rides in outside by now. This ridiculous WI weather is killing me.” Blah, blah, blah. Same story, different day. Same I am the ultimate victim of the weather excuse.
When I decided to actually stop lamenting to everyone (whether they asked about my training or not) I actually captured those thoughts to inspect them for truth.
“I knew it would be hard.” Yep. I covered this topic already. It’s hard. Okay, time to move on.
“This ridiculous WI weather is killing me.” Dramatic, (I do wonder in my soul if this could be a little true). But I have lived through 41 of these winters and I am still very much alive.
“But I assumed I would get a least a few long rides in outside by now.” Yes, I did assume that. But I also told people that I “might have to do all of my training indoors.” So… although I assumed something, I still also knew the other side of that truth.
The truth is that I had made the wishful assumption that the random warm/non snowy or icy days would align with my training, travel, and work schedule. On these beautiful spring days I would break off the trainer and onto the glorious road. I eventually turned this wishful assumption into my deserved truth. And at the end of March, when I am still 100% riding on the trainer, having to undo this thought process is not benefiting me at all.
There are reasons for the old saying about assumptions. They are dangerous and toxic expectations, and often very wrong.
Assumptions stop you from taking responsibility for your life. Instead, they allow you to hide behind your version of the story. You can blame others or circumstances for your misfortune, rather than look in the mirror.
Assumptions can rely on old information to fill in blanks and connect dots. Making them impedes growth. It is hard to stay present when you are hell bent on making judgements about the future that are based on past information.
Making assumptions is a bad habit. The more you do it, the harder it is to stop.
Negative assumptions perpetuate negative beliefs. This is SO TRUE. Thankfully, I had the epiphany that inspired this blog before my 5 hour trainer ride last Saturday. In the day leading up to it, I recognized my desire to assume that it would be awful. We had a long travel day after six consecutive days of drinking. It was going to be a late night after so much sitting. Oh, poor me! And guess what? This was not helping me at all. So, I intentionally decided to look at the ride in a more neutral way. No assumptions, no expectations. I planned to just show up to it and stay present in how I felt. I am happy to report that it was not that bad, until about 4:15 in when I could barely pedal due to fatigue.
After some further reflection I decided to do my best to stop assuming. Here is what I came up with:
- I will keep practicing mindfulness to stay in the present and connected to my reality.
- I will try to show up to relationships as a blank slate, ready to listen and react to the truth, rather than live in the past or in my preconceived bias.
- I will practice loving kindness and compassion for myself and others.
- I will ask questions, rather than judge.
- I will spend time nourishing my soul with creativity and prayer. I will fill my mind with dreaming rather than worry.
- I will be practice forgiveness for myself when I inevitably have another moment of being an ass. I will do the same for others.
I will continue to make many mistakes, including making an ass of you and me. But as always, I hope that we can continue to grow and learn from these fails so that we can connect on a new level of presence in truth and love.
I won’t assume so, but I will believe.