We make assumptions every day, all day long, and we’re usually not even aware that we’re doing it. Saying don’t make assumptions is a little silly in some ways, because it’s what we naturally do to try and make sense of the world we live in.
Where assumptions really tend to cause our own suffering is when we assume the worst. We have one sliver of information, then we make up a whole story about the sliver of information and believe the story as if it’s true. Then we react to the false story and spend loads of emotional energy responding to a reality that isn’t even real!
The first trick to not making assumptions is recognizing when we’ve made up a story. But, the real work is in communication. Relinquishing assumptions requires a willingness to vulnerably inquire. Getting curious is the cure to assumptions. If someone says something underhanded, or a bit bitchy, You can say, “Hey, that felt a little abrasive to me. Was that your intention?”
Most of our assumptions are rooted in our own perception of the world and our own unhealed wounding. We project our history onto other people’s behavior and motivations. Perhaps you had a very controlling mother. Now your wife is directing you in some project and you start making up a story about how controlling she is and you start resenting it and getting really irritated. You can pause, breathe, soften, and check in with her. You inquire as to her intentions. And maybe you discover she’s not intending to be controlling. Maybe she just thinks this is the most efficient way to get the project done, and her intention is to finish it as quickly as possible so that you two have more time to play or make-love later.
Not making assumptions requires courageous communication. It requires dropping the arrogance and reactivity of the story, and yielding into the vulnerability of not knowing. It requires not only stating feelings and gathering information, it also requires naming needs.
May you recognize the stories you create. May you fearlessly enter into the vulnerability of inquiry. May your relationships be satisfying and authentic.
Sabrina Santa Clara ~ Authentic Alchemy x3
Spiritual Counseling ~ Temecula, CA