You May Be Charitable, But Do You Practice Charitable Assumption?

By: LUMO Leaders

- Publish On: October 28, 2021

Hello mothers and others. Elena Here.  

We’ve been talking a lot lately about getting messy, saying sorry, and giving ourselves grace.  These are pretty vulnerable concepts and, for those of us who worship at the altars of Gabby Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey or Brene Brown, they probably sound familiar.  But if you’re new to the inward looking game, I would like to introduce the concept of practicing charitable assumption

Charitable Assumption is a mindset that assumes the best intentions of others despite the circumstances or breakdowns. It’s about assuming that the other party is doing the best they can. 

Why do I bring this up, you ask? Well – here’s why…. 

Charitable assumption is one of LUMO’s core values, one that we practice and that’s constantly coming up in conversation. I chose the word “practice” intentionally – because while we love the idea of charitable assumption, it takes a lot of reminders to put it into action! Regardless, this is the standard we hold ourselves to. We are a collective of coaches who are human beings who are going to screw up sometimes. Trusting that our teammates are choosing to assume the best of us makes it that much easier for us to apologize and get back in the game. We are NOT about the drama, mama.

Assuming the best of one another has nipped plenty of arguments in the bud. It’s allowed us to take fewer things personally, to lead with our hearts, and to show up vulnerably. Essentially what it’s done is created a deep level of trust in one another despite the fact that we’ve only been together in person twice.

Practicing charitable assumption isn’t easy.  It forces us to really stop, look inward, and interrupt the “typical” thought patterns that may pop up in times of stress, frustration and, well, anytime I’m not at my best. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed out, I’m more reactive, more prickly, and more likely to take things personally (ask my husband). It’s in these moments where choosing to assume the best of others is the most impactful for me, because:

  1. It allows me to see other people’s perspectives. If I can really put myself in their shoes, I’m able to have more compassion and can take my reactive ego out of the situation.  

  2. It challenges the idea that someone is intentionally acting out of malice. In most cases, whatever is going on with the other person is NOT ABOUT ME. Yes, I said it.  Not everything’s about me (or you) and the other person may simply be having a bad day.  

  3. It helps me to look at myself more closely. Other people are our mirrors, and the things we judge them for are usually the things we judge the most in ourselves. For example: if I’m afraid of appearing disorganized, I might judge other people for not having it all together. When I ease up on all of that judgement, I can actually give myself some much-needed grace.  

As mothers, professionals, leaders, partners, and human beings, if we genuinely believe that people are trying their best – their very best – it releases our expectation that they show up a certain way. Which is helpful, because more often than not, people fall short of our unspoken expectations or disappoint us in some way.  The whole thing is like a pressure cooker and “charitable assumption” is the little valve or value you can open to let that heat, pressure and steam hiss out. 

Try it and let us know how it goes for you!

Maternally yours,

Elena and the LUMO team

LUMO Leaders

LUMO is full of the most passionate people in the parental leave movement. We believe developing a company's most important asset – its people — is key to unlocking success. And you know what? We’ve learned this because we’ve lived it. With a combined 50-plus years of expert experience in employee retention, working parent development, and DEI training, our collective of LUMO Leaders have the tools, insight, and fervor for helping organizations cultivate inclusive culture.

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