How’s everyone today? Did you enjoy last Sunday’s special Guest, Rev. Pamela Whitman? She is very talented. And it was a nice break for Greg, Andrea, and myself. We each had a mini vacation, dogs and I got to visit with my friend Laurie and my sister!
So, back to Delaware!
We started this miniseries on The Four Agreements, a few weeks ago with the most important Agreement, Be Impeccable with Your Word. How have you been doing with that?
Being impeccable means watching all your words and use only words that express love, including your thoughts!
Not only ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ but THINK about others as you would have them Think about you!
Thoughts are powerful also.
We followed up that Agreement with number 2, “Don’t Take Anything Personally”. This agreement is about words too, but it’s about what others have to say about us and how we handle it.
Now we are at agreement number 3, “Don’t Make Assumptions”
For example: A policeman was heading home after a long, hard day on patrol. He had dealt with a whole succession of difficult people, and a mountain of frustrating paperwork. All he wanted at this point was to kick back, unwind, enjoy some peace and quiet, and maybe watch a few innings of baseball on TV.
But, as he neared his home, he was startled by a vehicle that came careening around a sharp curve and narrowly missed his squad car. As the car passed within inches of him, the other driver shouted “Pig!”
The police officer was suddenly energized. He slammed on his breaks, all set to turn his squad car around and head off in hot pursuit. But as he rounded the curve….he ran head-on into a large pig that was standing in the middle of the road.
How often do we make an assumption that turns out to be completely inaccurate? More often, I would submit, than when the assumption is correct.
We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. It helps us organize our thoughts. However, as we said earlier, more often than not the assumption isn’t true.
And that is the problem, when we make an assumption, we believe it to be true, like our policeman earlier.
And when we make that assumption, it can lead to suffering.
We make assumptions about what others are thinking or doing – we take it personally-then we blame them and react by being angry, manipulative, or avoid the person.
When one assumes what others are thinking, it can create stress and interpersonal conflict because the person believes their assumption is a representation of the truth.
“Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions and believe we are right; then try to defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.”
We only see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear.
The funny thing is that the only way we can see anything is through our own eyes – through our own experiences that lead to our assumptions. However, what Ruiz is cautioning us to do is to know this and to avoid projecting our perceptions onto others.
When you avoid projecting your perceptions onto others, you are better able to detach from a potential emotional charge that might or might not be intended. Also, you aren’t jumping to any conclusions until you have listened with clarity – you have actively listened.
To practice active listening requires you to listen with full attention, ask questions, and paraphrase/repeat what was said to check for clear understanding. When the other person agrees that you have understood them, the communication is less ambiguous and more harmonious.
This is easy to talk about and makes perfect sense, but it is not always easy to do. It requires commitment to the cultivation of habit and loving, undistracted focus.
Ruiz suggests that you find the courage to listen without making assumptions as well as to “express what you really want”. We can interpret this to mean that we must not make assumptions that we are being heard in the way we mean to be heard. This requires responsibility for your “voice”, and if you are misunderstood, it means that the issue might be the other person’s miscomprehension or it might be your miscommunication.
Don’t make assumptions about this either because that is only a distraction and can cause an artificial emotional charge for the egos involved, including yours. Instead, take responsibility because if the other person has miscomprehended, it means that you have, nevertheless, miscommunicated!
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Asking “Tell me more,” or “I don’t know,” or even “I don’t understand,” can lead to further discussion and avoid the assumption that could happen if the questions were not asked.
Making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems.
We often make assumptions that our partners know what we think, what we want. We talked about this when we discussed “The 5 Love Languages.” Do you recall what your love language is?
Remember, a solution to overcoming the act of making an assumption is to ask questions and ensure that the communication is clear between the persons involved.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
The human mind works in interesting ways in that it has a need to justify everything, to explain and understand everything, in order to feel safe. There are so many things that the human mind cannot explain. It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe. This is why we make assumptions.
And probably why we have so many answers to the same questions. Just look at our politics. We made the assumption that everyone saw things as we do. They thought as we did, felt as we did, made judgments as we did…and THAT is the biggest assumption we can make!
So, the way to keep from making assumptions is to ask questions. Make sure to communicate clearly. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are clear as can be and even then, don’t assume you know all there is to know about a given situation.
Find your voice to ask. Everyone has the right to say no, but you always have the right to ask.
We are here to transform our lives and that of our Earth. We are to find the deeper parts of ourselves, to let go that which binds us and to find something larger which expands us and moves us into a deeper peace, a deeper appreciation and a deeper love.
Without making assumptions, your word becomes impeccable