Over the last two weeks we have been exploring the theme of love and relationships by diving deeper into the energy of our words, and how we respond in our interactions with others. Moving into week three of this love series, we will examine the falsehoods of assumptions, and how important it is not to make them.
Assumptions can be dangerous because we make them our truths. We create a scenario in our minds that someone is thinking X, and so then Y is going to happen. Or we imagine someone feels one way about us, when in fact it’s completely unfounded. Then we start to build up resentment and even anger towards them, and we make it personal. And as we learned last week, taking things personally is created from our own insecurities. So when making assumptions, we can go back to asking: what am I taking personally and feeling insecure about?
Think about your life for a moment. How many times, rather than just asking the person for clarification, you took the non-confrontational route, and assumed rather than getting the true answer? Perhaps you were fearful to ask, or you weren’t ready to hear the truth, or maybe you prefer drama over resolution. Whatever the case may be, by not asking, and assuming, you created unnecessary suffering for yourself and everyone involved.
When we assume we tend to want support from friends in our suspicions, and that’s where gossip makes its entrance. Going back to week one of this series–when we gossip we are not being impeccable with our words. So you can see how all of these agreements flow one into the other and cause a chain reaction when we are not living with intention.
Making assumptions in our lives is asking for our relationships to suffer. No one can know what we are thinking, and vice versa. We can’t assume that others know what we need them to say or do for us. Having this expectation from our partners or friends is a disaster waiting to happen. Even if someone knows us really well, we can never assume that they will know what to do for us. This is where communication is key. We assume everyone sees life as we do, but how can that be possible when every single person has their own unique life experience and perspective?
This agreement is not only one that we need to practice more in our relationships with others, but we also need to do a better job of doing it with ourselves. We make so many assumptions about ourselves, and our abilities, that it’s no wonder we have conflicts outside of our own minds. How often do you find yourself saying really negative awful things to yourself? Just go back to last time you went bathing suit shopping–I am sure an unflattering thought or two showed up there!
So here are 3 ways to stop making assumptions, and to begin having flourishing relationships:
- Start communicating. Ask if you don’t know the answer, rather than assuming. Use your voice. It is not being confrontational to ask for an explanation. And if you are perceived that way, then you might want to re-evaluate who you are spending your time caring about. Anyone should be glad that you aren’t mad at them behind their backs and spreading ugly gossip about something that could have been easily resolved by a short conversation.
- Say NO to drama. Not making assumptions means saying no to drama. For me personally, I try to stay as far away from drama as I can get. We waste so much energy when we live this way. If you find yourself in the middle of a lot of chaos at one time, take a look inside, and see how you might have helped in its creation. If you begin asking questions, using your voice, and getting clarification you can bet that you will have little to no drama in your relationships going forward.
- Change behaviors. Start becoming aware of when you are assuming something. If you sent someone an email and they never responded, or you showed up for a party and a good friend barely spoke to you, or your partner has become withdrawn, don’t assume it is something YOU did! Take a step back and practice saying, “I will not assume.” And then go back to Tip #1 and start asking questions and show compassion. Perhaps, your email got deleted on accident, or your friend had something terrible happen to them before the party, or your partner is having a personal struggle. We never know what is in other people’s hearts. So I advise using humility rather than pretending we do.
I would love to hear your comments and how these practices are going for you. Leave a comment for RYmagazine, and become a part of this amazing community!