Dont Make Assumptions
In two previous blogs, I talked about Miguel Ruiz’s book called The Four Agreements. It is a small handbook that carries great wisdom for us as we journey through life. Mr. Ruiz calls it a practical guide to personal freedom and subtitles it “A Toltec Wisdom Book”. In the previous blogs, I covered the first two agreements: Be Impeccable With your Word and Don’t Take Anything Personally. Today we will cover the third agreement.
Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Often in the situation of not having all the information, we “fill in” the gaps of information with our own narrative. In a sense, it feels like our brains just default to that way of thinking. If we don’t know for sure, we can find ourselves making up a story that will fill in the unknown details. And without known facts, we have just made assumptions. This is one way we can jump to conclusions and make assumptions. And through the “telling of the story”, we evoke feelings and emotions that we may put upon the other person because we believe our assumptions. This can cause needless pain.
Another way we can make assumptions may include “assuming” that others know how we feel. This assumption can lead us to have our feelings hurt, yet, may be an assumption that isn’t true. The other person may not know how we feel. If we haven’t told the person, he/she probably doesn’t know how we feel. It is up to us to share what we are feeling and what we need. Others do not know what our needs are and unless we share. We don’t want to assume that other know what we feel. Getting our feelings hurt over assuming others know what we need is a “set up” for pain. Buck up and be honest. Share with those you love what you need. People can’t read your mind any more than you can read their minds. So take the healthy route and be direct and honest.
Assumptions happen because we have a tendency to fill in the gaps in an effort to understand why something is happening. Assumptions happen because we don’t have the courage to clarify our thoughts and our conclusions. We need to check in with other people. If we think we have a fair idea of something that pertains to another person, but we really don’t know from the other person, we have made an assumption. Monitor yourself and watch how often the mind defaults to making an assumption. “She never called me back; I guess she really didn’t want me to go with her to the play anyway.” Give up the assumption game. Be direct. Tell people what you think you know about them. Give them the chance to explain the truth about the situation. Tell people what you know about yourself. Give them the chance to respond appropriately when they know what you need and/or want. Make life simpler. Be direct and give up assumptions. Life is a bit easier when you navigate with more clarity.
Ruiz, D. M. (1997). The Four Agreements. San Rafael: Amber-Allen Publishing Company.Tags: ask before you assume, don't make assumptions, four agreements
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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