The third agreement of Don Miguel Ruiz’s book ‘The Four Agreements’ is ‘Don’t make assumptions’.
Daily we make assumptions about what others think, do or say. We create our own reality filled with assumptions. We take it personally because we believe it to be true and then we react in order to defend ourselves. For example, if I walk down the road and my neighbour across the road doesn’t wave at me I can assume that they are annoyed at me, what did I do to upset them? In turn, the next time I see them I don’t wave at them, I stop talking to them when I pass. When in truth, they may have poor eyesight and don’t see me or they could have just got really bad news and don’t want to interact with anyone. Ruiz affirms ‘All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking this personally’
So how can you reduce your assumptions? Ask questions! Communicate! If you know the truth, you cannot assume. If you know the reason why the neighbour didn’t acknowledge you, you cannot assume the worst, create your own reality, take it personally and react.
Ruiz also gives the example of communication and assumptions in relationship. He explains ‘Often we make the assumption that our partner knows what we think and that we don’t have to say what we want’. For example, it’s your anniversary, you are assuming your partner will know you want to be surprised and swept off your feet but your partner comes home with a takeaway meal and some flowers, you get annoyed, it ruins your evening as it ends in a pointless argument. It is because you made a decision of what you wanted and assumed your partner would know that yet you did not communicate your desires and wants. You assumed that your partner lives in your reality when in fact (As we covered last week), they live in their own reality. Communicate your thoughts so it leaves no room for assumptions in the other persons mind and ask questions until you are clear.
This can also be true when dealing with ourselves and the arguing voice in our head. We make assumptions about our capabilities. We often assume our capabilities which may be based on very little data, we try, we fail, we get annoyed and we get upset. We are annoyed because we didn’t communicate with ourselves clearly. We didn’t do the necessary homework or research. We didn’t ask ourselves the questions that need to be asked or face the reality of what we want. This is not only typical when overestimating our abilities, it is also typical when underestimating our abilities.
Once we stop making assumptions (bout ourselves and with the people in our life, our way of communicating will be clearer, there will be less arguments. To build on the agreements we have already covered, if we ask questions, we cannot assume and therefore our word is impeccable.
This week, I want you to set 15-30 mins aside to speak to your partner, family member or friend with no distractions (for them or you!). I want you to really listen to what they are saying, ask questions, get clear answers, and get the truth. In turn, communicate to them your truth about your feelings, actions etc. If the talk is successful, you should walk away with no assumptions only facts.