By Hayley Bell
"But the reality is that we know nothing, and we assume everything."
We have all been there. We see a beautiful woman and suspect she might be pregnant. So then comes the curiosity that starts small but begins to boil inside, bubbling up until we can’t hold it back anymore and we blurt out,
“Are you pregnant?”
And 9/10 times we’re right, but every once in a while we are DEAD WRONG. Not just a little wrong, but completely wrong. And we see it instantly when the woman’s eyes dull, her lips thin and brows crease, and she says,
“No. I’m not pregnant.”
I’ve been in this situation more times then I can count. The most recent being when I went to FedEx to ship a computer across the country. The woman behind the counter was very friendly, sweetly tolerating my three chaos-making little boys. The youngest was bringing me every candy they had at his eye level, creating a huge pile of M&M caramels next to the register.
Our conversation turned to the boys and how cute they were. But the inevitable question arose, “Are you having a boy or a girl?”
This is me, not being pregnant.
I’m not pregnant. But I look pregnant because of an injury called Diastasis Recti where my abdominal wall split and I have the look of a woman six months along.
It took me a second to register both the question and how I’d respond. Because it’s a comment/question I get fairly often, I am not as bothered as I used to be. But it still stings a little because I have been working to get my body into a more healthy state.
I explained to her the issue and we continued our conversation, littered every once in a while by Jacob bringing me an M&M. This incident was one in a long line of assumptions made about me because of how I look.
We make assumptions all the time. We assume the roads will be clear. We assume the morning will run smoothly. We assume the woman with the nice car has a great life. We assume the picture of the happy family is actually happy. We assume we know the truth.
But the reality is that we know nothing, and we assume everything.
We don’t see the wreck five miles down the road, or the load of laundry that didn’t dry so there are no clean clothes for the boys, or that the nice car is going to be repossessed, or that the happy smiling family is dealing with drug addiction and possible divorce.
We need to change our mindsets from assumption to compassion.
Compassion will change everything. It will make us see the woman IN the car instead of the car. It will make us feel for the family of the wrecked vehicle instead of the minutes we are now late for work. It changes our lens of how we view the world.
When we can view the world through the lens of compassion, things in our own lives begin to change. We aren’t as harsh on ourselves for mistakes or accidents, or even bad choices. We are able to view the lesson behind those experiences. We can see that the child who failed a math test just needs a little more help instead of a sharp word. We can see that the husband that is retreating into his phone or a video game is overwhelmed and probably needs to talk. Compassion will help you release those feels of inadequacy and failure, and it will help you see your true worth, which is immeasurable.
The woman in the FedEx assumed I was pregnant.
And instead of being angry with her question, I was able to look through the lens of compassion, see her hot embarrassment, and feel nothing but understanding for her mistake.
Compassion vs assumption. Which will you choose?
Hayley Bell is the host of the weekly podcast Finding the Valkyrie, and owner and operator of Valkyrie Podcast Solutions. She is the mother of three beautiful boys and has been married to her best friend for 10 years. She is a fierce advocate for depression awareness and suicide prevention, having experienced severe depression herself and family who struggled with suicidal thoughts and desires. Haley is also an opera singer and performs regionally in Utah and surrounding states. Find her on social media platforms @findingthevalkyrie. You can find her podcast, Finding the Valkyrie, on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and Podomatic.