If you are walking down a dark alley and you hear heavy breathing behind you, a quick glance over your shoulder informs your choice to shift to the side to allow the hurrying person to pass or run like a bat out of hell for your life.  The judgement is split second, based on the context and appearances.  For instance, if the person is dressed in a hoodie, looks scruffy and young, you might suspect the quick getaway is your best bet.  But if it’s a gentleman in an expensive overcoat with polished shoes and a briefcase, it’s likely he is late for his train so you keep calm and get out of the way quickly.  Our human brains are wired to make these kinds of snap decisions and judgments which are designed to keep us safe and ensure the survival of the species.  However…when we are unable to detach from our assumptions about people, our predictions aren’t helpful since they prevent us from relating to our loved ones as though they could surprise us.  Could you give up that you know everything there is to know about your relatives this Christmas and relate to them as though you have something to learn about them?  Check out this blog about the Beginners Mind to understand how to rid yourself of assumptions.