Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't Make Assumptions

This is the third out of The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz; how often do we actually think of this?  I know it's not really been on my mind very often, but one that is important.  
"We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything.  The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.  We could swear they are real.  We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking----we take it personally---then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word.  That is why whenever we make assumptions, we're asking for problems.  We make an assumptions, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing." (don Miguel Ruiz)
If I think that my husband is angry with me ( for whatever reason ),  I might actually treat him with rudeness (remember that our thoughts create our world.)  Because, after all, he's mad at me so my defenses are going to go up and there goes my whole new approach to "being open"!  Wow, and that probably happened within 5 minutes!
Or how often do we, as women, assume our husbands know how we feel or what we want or need?  After 32 years of marriage you think I'd have learned this one by now, and I am getting better, but it can still be a problem.  This is also true with our families, friends, or even strangers.  I have been in "shopping" situations when I am alone and assume the person standing next to me would like to carry on a very short conversation, and when the 30 second exchange is over I am left standing there wondering if they really even cared about what I was commenting on?  (sometimes that "being open" part of me could be toned down just a tad.*S*)
What do we do and how do approach our relationships and not assume anything?  This is when my "being open" experience has to kick in!  We actually have to communicate!  The key to not "assuming" is to ask questions, and ask questions until we understand the other person.  That might actually appear like a great conversation and I do love a good conversation.  I don't always think that asking questions is all that difficult, but then I know there is an art to "asking" and the right and wrong words to use. (remember to "be impeccable with your words")
The courageous part of this agreement is that we actually need to say what we need.  When we "speak" our needs or wants(sometimes it would be nice to stop for a diet Dr. Pepper while we're on the road, but I know by now that my husband is not going to read my mind and take the next exit in search of what I'd like or need at that moment) unless I actually put my "voice" to it.  
In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz states, "This, then is the Third Agreement:  Don't make assumptions.  Just saying this sounds easy, but I understand that it is difficult to do.  It is difficult because we so often do exactly the opposite.  We have all these habits and routines that we are not even aware of.  Becoming aware of these habit and understanding the importance of this agreement is the first step.  But understanding its importance is not enough.  Information or an idea is merely the seed in your mind.  What will really make the difference is action.  Taking the action over and over again strengthens your will, nurtures the seed, and establishes a solid foundation for the new habit to grow.  After many repetitions these new agreements will become second nature...."
We all know the saying, "assuming something only makes a "donkey" out of you and me."  And I don't know about you but the donkey is not the animal I"d pick to become.  


  1. I read when you assume something stop and ask yourself, is this true (a fact) or is it something I have made up. If it is not a fact I can see using your communication to find out. So you become a detective on the path to find the truth. (a little dramatic, I know) This is easier to do when you hear someone else assuming, because you can ask them the question, "is this true?" I wonder what others assume about me? I don't want them assuming anything. (please ask me) So I shouldn't assume either.

  2. Those are great questions to ask yourself as well as communicating with the other person to make sure you are assuming correctly. I know; I don't want people assuming anything about me either. I think this agreement is more difficult to detect in ourselves than the others; it's not something that's transparent; we have to "look" for it in ourselves because, for me, the assumptions just appear without me being aware of it at first.

  3. I love this agreement. It is so simply yet we rarely get it right. At least I rarely do. I assume I know far more than I do and it has an effect on how I look at life. I am trying to look deep into myself and it is harder than I thought it would be. Even looking at myself is so complicated and I "assumed" I knew myself better. I find it hard to ask someone if what I assume is right. I don't want to be misunderstood, then have someone assume something wrong about me. Kind of complicated yet it should be so simple.

  4. Mary, you really bring up a great point; I hadn't thought of it so much as assuming things about myself! And the questioning is a little scarey because sometimes I've asked a simple question and gotten an answer that I didn't necessarily want to hear! So sometimes I ask myself if I really want to know because once you ask, you're gonna get an answer. All of this is kind of scarey when it's new; hoping it'll get easier the more we practice. Don't you think?*S*