How many ways are there to make tuna fish? Correct answer: a lot.
But when I was first married at 20, I knew of only one, and that was my mom’s recipe. She always separated the tuna lightly and added a little mayo, chopped egg, celery and paprika. This was my concept of tuna fish. One day my husband made lunch and presented me with some sort of mayonnaise-y spread smooshed between two pieces of bread.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Tuna fish,” he said.
“No it’s not,” I answered. “Tuna fish looks entirely different.”
I had assumed that the way my mother made tuna fish was the way that everyone made tuna fish.
That was one of my earliest encounters with the pitfalls of making assumptions. Of course it was because my experience had been so limited up until that time that I didn’t realize that there were other “correct” ways of doing things.
We all make assumptions and they can get us into trouble.
One good way of protecting yourself is to periodically turn your assumptions on their heads. What if there are other truths besides your own? In this case, I learned not to assume that my way of doing something was the right way, or the best way or the only way. The truth is, there are other ways of making tuna fish that are perfectly acceptable to the people consuming it.
And there are other ways of thinking about pretty much everything. Try and remember that before you judge others. You may ultimately prefer your own way, but that doesn’t mean that you have a monopoly on what’s right.