There’s a reason why the saying is that making an assumption makes an A** out of U and ME - because it does!
Whenever we assume, we are believing something we do not know to be true. We are entrenched in a World of Lie that our mind has made up, using this false and deceptive foundation to foster even more suffering for ourselves and others.
How many times have you assumed something, reacted with emotions that drove action, and then found out later that you were completely wrong in your initial assumption? We’ve all done it... and probably continue to do so to some degree, at least unconsciously. Think about all the energy you expended, how much drama and trauma was created based upon this assumption. When reality hit and showed us the depth of how much we were caught up by our own doing, most likely regret, guilt, and shame arrived... the hangovers from our misguided beliefs. It’s exhausting and painful all the way around...but also a good lesson and one to remember.
Do you recall an assumption you’ve made? What was the difference between what you thought and reality? What would have changed if you were clear on the truth to begin with? How would it have changed the things that happened next?
So why do we make assumptions? And how to not make an assumption?
~ Stop, ask questions, reflect back what you think the other person said, clarify, and continue this same process until you understand. And if you feel shy about asking for clarification, think forward to the ramifications of not really knowing the situation or facts.
~ Be clear and complete in your communication. If you sense a misstep, backtrack to correct and clarify. Just as we assume, others do as well so help them out (and the whole situation)
~ One of the reasons we assume is to fill in the gaps of missing information. Sometimes we aren’t given all the details of a situation - whether known or unknown. It can make us feel too vulnerable to not know everything, to not have all the answers, or to be able to see the whole picture. Filling in the gaps with pieces that make the puzzle more complete from our perspective helps to reduce our stress, anxiety, and worry response. It can make us feel safe and more in control.
~ We assume that everyone sees life as we do. Thus, the pieces of the puzzle that we use to fill the gaps often reflect what we would do. This also factors into us being confused and hurt when others don’t act as we would, i.e. our assumption of what “should” be done.
~ Allow others to be themselves, decide with freewill, and to know what is best for them (which may be very different than what we would do, want, or advise).
~ We assume others know what we think or feel, especially if they are in our life for a long period of time or we’ve “explained” ourselves to them a lot. “Shouldn’t my husband know XYZ about me?” Wrong. Make sure communication is clear no matter what. It shows respect for the relationship.
Take some time today and reflect on some of the causes and conditions listed above. Notice what happens in your life and how you work with assumptions in your daily life.
Please share your comments, questions, ideas, reflections, etc.
Peace to All!!
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach