I have a confession to make.
I’ve watched the movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson (possibly multiple times).
Gibson stars as Nick Marshall, a chauvinistic advertising executive who gets electrocuted and then miraculously can hear what women are thinking.
Reading minds was cool at first, but it was also a curse because Marshall realized many women had a low opinion of him.
What is assumicide?
Nick Marshall is not reality for the rest of us, so we revert to guessing what people are thinking.
It’s called “assumicide.”
Momma always said, “If you assume, you make an … ” I’m assuming you can finish that sentence.
We make assumptions based on what we think people think about us, not what people actually think.
John Ortberg said, “Think of the problem as a kind of mental jury box containing all of the people who rate us like so many judges evaluating an Olympic skater … It gets pretty crowded.”
Rather, we should let God worry about what people think of us and work on what we think about people (Romans 12:9-21).
We must stop wasting mental energy on things not within our “circle of concern” and outside of our control.
You might be a victim of assumicide if this has happened to you: Someone doesn’t stop to give you their full attention, appears to give you some type of unacceptable look or seems to ignore you and then you chase a rabbit trail and have created an entire story about what that person thinks of you.
Author Lysa TerKeurst said this about a similar situation, “(I’ve been) thinking about all the many times I assign thoughts to others that they never actually think. I hold them accountable to harsh judgments they never make. And I own a rejection from them they never gave me.”
The Allergy Alert app
If you think someone doesn’t see you in a positive light, as smart, personable or on the same level in terms of income, job title, college degree or whatever, you will inevitably avoid them or try to impress them.
I just downloaded the Allergy Alert app on my phone because I’m new to the Ohio Valley and all the allergies that come along with it.
When the Allergy Alert app is in the red, the choice we have to make on a beautiful day is to go outside and enjoy it or avoid it. Sometimes when you do enjoy the day and return with extreme congestion, you decide it’s not worth the hurt.
That’s how assumicide attempts to overwhelm us.
Rather than being vulnerable and putting ourselves out there, taking risks and enjoying someone’s company, we stay inside to avoid the pain of possible rejection.
Brené Brown said, “When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities.”
The shame of being found out and fully known scares you to death.
You might not step out and serve somewhere in the church and community or step into a new leadership position.
You decide it’s safer to stay where you are comfortably celebrated.
Christian music artist Lauren Daigle said, “True freedom is giving people the permission to misunderstand you.”
A pineapple under the sea?
There isn’t an Assumicide Anonymous 12-step program to help us on the road to recovery.
For those who have watched “SpongeBob Squarepants,” this episode should strike a chord.
SpongeBob visits his squirrel friend, Sandy. She has a home of air under the sea while SpongeBob needs water to survive.
He repeatedly tries to convince himself, “I don’t need water.”
Obviously, he does.
If you’re like a sponge and need to absorb acceptance from others to feel self-worth, then people will be the water with which you must fill up your cup.
Dr. Ed Welch said when people need love from others, they “are in bondage, controlled by others and feeling empty … controlled by whoever or whatever they believe can give them what they think they need.”
Even those who have reached the pinnacle of their careers deal with this.
President John Quincy Adams once said, “I have done nothing. I have no ability to do anything that will live in the memory of mankind … that something should be the result of my existence.”
I’m getting to the place where I would rather make mistakes and not attach myself to the assumed opinions of others than to say or do something successfully and still be chained to people’s applause.
No matter what setting you find yourself in or what person you’re socializing with, remember you belong to God (Galatians 3:29).
The social ladder has been eradicated, and we’re all kneeling before the cross.
If God says you belong in His presence, then you are worthy to belong in anyone else’s presence.
Because the Bread of Life actually loves you, you don’t need to live off of the “likes” and crumbs of assumptions.
TerKeurst adds, “Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.”
Tony Nochim is a staff writer for The Outlook.