Vignettes in Aging – Assumptions

The third agreement in Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements is “Don’t Make Assumptions.” You can check out the simplicity and power of these words in his book.

Making assumptions is an impatient person’s unwillingness to wait for the answer – the correct answer. It’s also very lazy to make assumptions when the truth exists. The answer, however, may take some time and some digging to get it. Can you wait for the truth?

“Well, if I can’t get the real answer, I’ll just make up one until the truth is revealed.” This too is part of how big lies are created.

Instead of getting the answer before sharing with others, an assumption is put out as the truth and carried off by others thinking (assuming???) what they’ve heard, read, or seen is correct. This multiplies the untruth and complicates issues exponentially.

We like to control things in our lives, and that’s one reason we allow our brains to so easily create and accept an assumption rather than taking the time to find and confirm the truth.

Making assumptions plays havoc in relationships, and there’s no excuse for this reality.  We have powerful imaginations, and we can easily let ourselves buy into all the ideas and stories that we imagine. Before you know it, we start imagining what other people are doing, what they’re thinking, what they’re saying about us, and we dream things up in our imagination. We invent a whole story that’s only true for us, but we believe it. This snowballs into greater distortions and the resulting misperceptions.

“I just assumed you wanted….” or “I assumed you were going to….” or “I assumed you thought….”. How many times have we heard that from our spouse or other family members and friends? And yet, on it goes spiraling into lies that sit in the gut like a massive undigestible meatball of emotion.

A lot of drama comes from us making assumptions. We tell ourselves great untruths about other people and events which we take personally thus creating conflict and unrest. All the confusion and resulting ill will could easily be avoided.

Is taking the time to find the true answer that untenable? Are you so lazy that you can’t muster the energy or temerity to find the truth?

The following is a big one for us parents and grandparents:

“I’m assuming since I haven’t heard from the kids, that they’d rather spend the holidays somewhere other than my house.”
“Are you sure they feel this way?”
“Well, they haven’t called to set up a date to get together yet. I’m going to book myself with other activities, so I won’t be disappointed when they don’t reach out to me to be with them.”

This scenario is a loaded stick of relationship dynamite.

If you find yourself beginning a thought or a conversation with “I assume …”, stop yourself and back up. Additionally, don’t allow the assumptions of others to automatically be your truths. Would an email or phone call get to the actual truth?

You only have yourself to blame for chaos that comes from your unsubstantiated assumptions.