“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.” ~don Miguel Ruiz
The third agreement from don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements is Don’t Make Assumptions. One of the things I learned is that I had a tendency to make assumptions about everything. Much of the drama in my life was rooted from these assumptions because I believed them to be true and then I took them personally. I made assumptions about the actions of others and what they were thinking about me and I didn’t even know if they were accurate. I then blamed them and created drama in my mind.
An example of making an assumption might be that you are out at the store and you see a friend and she ignores you. You then make the assumption that she is mad at you. You concoct a story about why she is mad you and then your ego gets involved and you begin to defend yourself about how ridiculous it is that she is mad over that situation. Then your anger begins to build and you are now mad at her. If you would have asked why she ignored you, it might have been as simple as she didn’t see you or she just received bad news and her mind was focused on other things. But, most people don’t take the time to ask questions and just let the situation fester in their head. Making assumptions happens in the mind and it causes you to create all sorts of “what if” scenarios that get out control and create angst.
Why do you make assumptions? You make assumptions because of fear – you are afraid that something is wrong, that people don’t like you, that others are mad at you, or any other number of reasons. You are afraid to ask for clarification. But, it is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions lead to pain, suffering and worrying.
Most people make assumptions many times during the day and most of them are made unconsciously. You might feel that it is not safe to ask questions; you believe that if you friends or partner really knew you, then they should know what you want or how you feel. The problem with that thinking is that everyone does not see the world like you do. Others have had different life experiences and they view the world in their own way.
The best way to stop making assumptions is to ask questions. You must be authentic and find the courage to express yourself. You need to have clear and open communication with others. If you don’t understand, then find your voice and ask questions until you do understand the situation.
Do you make assumptions about what others are thinking and doing?
What can you do to get clarification when you don’t understand?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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