Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wait! Don't jump there......

Conclusions can be dangerous things. Especially if one jumps onto one too quickly, sailing off into the horizon of justification and an affinity for being "right." 

Another lesson learned over the decades, that's for sure. Like most lessons, though--at least the important ones--they are gifts that keep on giving.

I had occasion to become reacquainted with this one a few days ago, when I nearly tripped into the abyss of, well, several vats of muck. Muck that would have stuck to me for a while if I had fallen all the way in. But I caught myself in time, causing myself only a few hours of discomfort. The alternative would not have been pretty and it would have affected my life dramatically, and not for the better, I'm thinking.

People are strange and wonderful beings, much more complicated than the black/white, either/or, all/none, thinkers care to admit. Yet we do tend to follow patterns of behavior that we find comfortable over the years. If a person acts in one way in situation A over and over again, then it's safe to say that she will follow that general pattern every time (or most times) that situation A reoccurs.

I had occasion to be somewhere, and the person who was supposed to be there with me was......not. "WELL! How dare they?" I huffed to myself.  "We just talked about this! Now I'm sitting here by myself, can't get in, it's cold, and I don't know what's going on!!"  (There's that thing about me, the trait that someone close to me shared with me one day: I HAVE to know EVERYTHING. It raised its ugly head again, and I can't blame others for this compulsion of mine. It's bad enough that I have to live with it.)

I sat there. I fumed. And then my years of learning this lesson about jumping to nasty conclusions took over. This was totally out of character for this person. Had never happened before.

The fact that I then worried for hours until the mystery was solved speaks to a different trait of mine. But that's a topic for another day.

All was well, and I was right to pull back from that dangerous ledge of acting and speaking rashly. It wouldn't have been pretty, the person didn't deserve it, and my actions would have created bad feelings that had no basis in fact.

Now about that other fun thing that I do......

A conclusion is just simply the place where
someone decided to stop thinking.

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