The Gnarly Effects of Labeling Ourselves (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, we looked at how labels can limit our power and our relationship to the deeper self. 

Today, we’re going to explore how labels tend to cluster with sneaky assumptions, which can lead us far astray of our soul’s path.

First, a story…

A few months ago, I was Zooming with a friend. We were chatting about business—she’s wanting to start her own—and she mentioned a woman whom she’d recently met. I’ll call her Sara.

My friend said, “Yeah, well, Sara’s rich, because she has two office locations.”

Now, I happen to know Sara, apparently better than my friend did, and I know very well that Sara does not consider herself to be financially rich.

Taking out the second location was a bit of a gamble, one that hasn’t yet paid off. 

How often do we make these mental shortcuts?

Two office locations = rich

Losing weight = happiness

Troy at the office not taking credit for our ideas = self-confidence

While there are many repercussions of these pervasive assumptions, I want to focus on just one here:

How assumptions affect our choices.

Let’s say my friend allows her assumption to go unchallenged…

It’s very likely that she’ll see reaching the milestone of “two office locations” as a sensible goal in the pursuit of financial success. 

From the outside, it’s probably easy to see how irrelevant this goal is, how there’s no inherent connection between having two offices and being financial successful.

(I mean, does your particular business even require one office? Maybe…but maybe not.)

In fact, pursuing this could have precisely the opposite effect. Two offices equals twice the overhead, which could be enough to run a business into the ground. 

And what about in relationships?

Like all areas of life, relationships are often loaded with assumptions, so we have plenty examples to choose from, like…

Unless Terry stops making passive-aggressive comments, this friendship is in the toilet.

If I don’t go to brunch on Saturday, Kayla will be pissed.

My partner doesn’t listen to me because he doesn’t care/is self-absorbed/thinks I’m boring.

Each of these assumptions leads to a sequence of choices and a narrowing of options. 

They act as blinders that hide any information that doesn’t conform to our current perspective—can you see what a self-defeating cycle this could generate?

Eight of Swords from Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot

If we don’t like the way things are…

…yet we’re holding assumptions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to see things in a new way, our ability to creatively problem solve will be severely limited. 

To break the cycle, we have to be willing to risk that our assumptions might be incorrect. 

This might seem simple, but in practice it often triggers feelings of raw vulnerability, and sometimes even shame, so the ego will often go to great lengths to prevent us from taking this road less travelled.

It will try to convince us that our assumptions are facts by seeking evidence everywhere we look. 

If it finds even the slightest hint that our partner isn’t listening, it can magnify this to epic proportions…

…turning it into incontrovertible “truth,” and leading us to believe that the only way for this relationship to work is for our partner to become a better listener. 

But if we were willing to challenge this assumption (something I show you how to do, step-by-step in this free course), we create space.

Space for new ideas to bubble up, space for creative possibilities to reveal themselves.

The Star from Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot

We’ll feel more inspired, more curious, more willing to engage with life in different ways. 

And in doing so, we’ll generate insights based on real-world experiences (i.e. not circular, untested thoughts) that will guide us toward wise decisions.

Rather than unconsciously choosing completely arbitrary aims (“I have to open two offices!”), spinning out time and energy on things that will likely leave you feeling flat and frustrated…

…challenge those assumptions to locate your unique North Star, letting your inner guidance light the way to deeper satisfaction.

You’ve got this.