Making Assumptions

In continuing to go through the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz we touched on the first two agreements: 1.Be impeccable with your word and 2.Don’t take anything personally.

The third agreement is: Don’t Make Assumptions.  Here is how it works.  We make assumptions about other people based on too little knowledge, we then believe what we have assumed is true, we have an emotional reaction to those assumptions, and then we defend ourselves from the other people based on what we have made up about them.

I have often said we fill in the gaps of knowledge with our own fears, doubts and assumptions.  I see it every day, especially when working with couples.  The “He said” “She said” dynamic is amazing!  One of them starts the story. “We were leaving and he got mad because I took too much time getting ready and then he wouldn’t talk to me for the entire car ride!”  I ask him about it.  He looks at her in amazement and tells her he took a call from his brother over in Afghanistan and it had really upset him and he thought she had overheard the call and the silence in the car was her being supportive of him!  Whoops!

As someone once said, we are all the stars of our own dramas.  We want to be right, we want to be good and we spend a lot of time in our little dramas justifying and explaining to ourselves why we are right.

People find it very stressful to ask questions of others.  It is “easier” to just make something up.  “He blew me off because he hates me” instead of asking and finding out that you had the date or time wrong or something unrelated to you had happened.  There is a really funny scene in Dave Barry’s Guide to Guys where a man and a woman are on a date and the woman remarks that they have been dating for 6 months and he gets quiet, realizing that a problem with the car started when they began out and it is still going on and so he gets caught up in thinking about the car.  In the silence, the woman spins an entire tale about how he regrets dating her, how it is all her fault, and she bursts out crying which totally shocks the guy.  It is funny because it is so real.

See if you can catch yourself making assumptions.  If you can, find out what you are assuming and try to get the facts rather than stay with the fantasy.