SHIFTING THE ASSUMPTIVE WORLD VIEW “Never assume because when you assume it makes an ASS out of U and ME.” Felix Unger in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple
In my last blog, I talked about the “Optimism Bias,” which is the belief that each of us is more likely to experience positive outcomes, and less likely to have negative ones transpire. In order to get us through life, we live in an assumptive world, where our assumptions or beliefs that ground and secure us, will be not be disturbed.
Death and other forms of loss, are complete shocks to our assumptive world. Trauma devastates our assumptive world and we are shaken to the core making us full of shame and insecurity. The process of grief is coming to terms with the annihilation of our assumptive world and its belief system. We must heal and transform what was once our assumptive world into a new world order. We must rebuild the foundation of our belief system and begin to trust ourselves, others, and the world’s crises, in order to move forward. Our spirituality has been shaken beyond measure and what was once a safe and protected world, is now in shambles and must be restructured.
The loss of our loved one throws us into secondary losses as well. Not only have we lost our compass, our tiller, and our cheerleader, but we have lost social standing, financial security, and companionship to move through life. We had a treasure road map for the future and now that map goes nowhere and the treasure eludes us. We have to reexamine all the assumptions we lived by in the past, and find a way to rebuild the house of our being. The trauma of loss has shaken our foundations, and we have to find the mortar and bricks, and the little pigs to come build it, not of straw, but of solid material that will make us stand tall again.
Peter died suddenly in front of my very eyes. The trauma of that experience was a betrayal of my assumptive world. How could any this have happened? My assumptive world was my attachment to Peter and all this entailed. Now I have lost that assumptive world and I am trying to build it again, pillar by pillar. I have to make sure that each piece of material that I use to rebuild my life is securely set in place. No termites allowed in this rebuilding please! I am utilizing the trust in my family and friendships as a basic material for my new life. I have to find a new personal definition of Laurie alone. But I will never lose the love of Peter which is part of my foundation. He part of my heart even though he is not physically present. Peter made me a better person, and I am using his image as a medium to build myself back into a new assumptive world, one where I will venture forth gingerly, but with a modicum of hope. My assumptive world was shattered, giving way to profound grief and emotions. But little by little, brick by brick, friend by friend, and mini-joy by mini-joy, those emotions have energized me towards a healing path.
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ― Isaac Asimov