For what it’s worth Friday – Don’t Make Assumptions

Continuing on week three of my discussion around The Four Agreements and this week’s made me laugh because the timing was impeccable.  You see, I’ve already talked about Agreement Number One – Be Impeccable with your word and Agreement Number Two – Don’t take things Personally.  Now for the third agreement…

Don’t Make Assumptions. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We make an assumption. We misunderstand. We take it personally. Then we react by sending emotional poison with our word. This creates a whole big drama for nothing.

Well shit…

Funny thing about assumptions… We learn early on that it makes an ass outta you and me… Mostly the person making the assumptions… In my experience anyway.

Let’s say… Hypothetically speaking … That your friend, lover, parent, boss, significant other, whatever…  is suddenly distant … You have only a couple of options here.

You could (a) let it go (b) ask the distant party what’s up or (c) make up assumptions in your own mind about the reason for the distance.

(Ok, so you COULD go with Option D and smother them with your neediness which will likely make them more distant and create a hellish cycle until the whole arrangement implodes… or so I’ve heard…  but that isn’t what this post is about)

Ok so with option A… Easier said than done. I mean when you let it go you have to completely LET IT GO. {My apologies for everyone who is currently singing the song from Frozen… it was unintentional but now has to stay} Like COMPLETELY and then move on. Like for good. As in never ever bring it up again even when buttons are pushed in a future disagreement.

In my experience, that’s not exactly how it ends up. Usually it looks more like “I’m gonna ignore this for now but I’m going to hang on to this for later when I need a low-blow to pull”  Classy, I know… and we’ve likely all been there … which is why I don’t think I need to even provide an example here.  I’d bet you are replaying some past incident in your head right now…

Option B is more mature of course but you have to be prepared to hear the answer *sigh* and trust the person will actually tell you instead of comforting you with a lie.

This is why we often go with Option C. We don’t have to ask, we can make up stories about the situation. We call friends who will make up stories along with us and confirm our biggest fears… Or make up stories for us that are so far fetched… so outlandish we laugh the whole thing off as nothing.

“Oh – Dude is not yet home and isn’t answering his phone?  Of COURSE he’s not out having a drink with someone he shouldn’t be {or worse} – He’s at work but his battery is dead and he couldn’t call because mice chewed through his charger cord and he’s really frantic to get his work done because he can’t wait to see you and the kids and that’s why he’s not answering the 47 texts you sent.”

Yes.  This agreement hits home… and WHY is it that when we assume, it’s usually the WORST possible scenario?  I mean when someone isn’t where they should be when they should be, we assume a cheating significant other or that they are dead in a ditch.  I mean that’s NOT just me, right?  Why don’t we assume that they are running late because they are shopping for a present that most adequately represents their deep love for us and it’s taking forever because nothing is good enough.  How come THAT isn’t a scenario that we fixate on? And… fixate is the word.

But What if…  there IS a better way… what if we just went back and revisited Option B.  Just for a second…

3rdagreementWhat if… when we felt like something was “off” we asked… What if when someone said or did something that hurt our feelings, we asked for clarification instead of assuming that they intended to cause harm. What if we stopped assuming that the way people treated us was what we deserved…What if when we encountered someone who raised the bar we didn’t assume that it was a game and they were going to eventually show their true colors… because what if these ARE their true colors?

Don’t Assume.

Ask for clarity.

and then… refer to agreement number one.  Be impeccable with your word and decide if the answer is something you can live with.

***DISCLAIMER***

I know that there are people who are in situations that they feel trapped by.  I know that feeling of desperation and it seems easy for me to stand on my soapbox and tell you to demand better from those around you.  I’ve been in your position and there are ways to change the world, but it doesn’t happen overnight.  For me, it started with believing that I deserved better in the first place… and at times I still struggle with this. Any change will take patience and time.  Rely on the people around you and ask for help if you need it.  If these words mean something to you, they were meant for your eyes.  If not, thanks for your patience.

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