The Subtle Art of Not Making Assumptions


Have you read, The Four Agreements? I’ve been talking about some of the principles here. In addition to The Four Agreements, another book I have read and love that dives into not making assumptions is, “You Are a Badass How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.” By Jen Sincero. While the whole idea of not making assumptions seems so simple, in reality it can be extremely difficult and often can be the downfall or demise of many relationships whether familial, friend or romantic.

Let’s say you’ve had a bad day so you call a friend to go out. That friend ignores your call, but you notice they are on social media. You then become bothered by this, clearly they saw you called them, so why wouldn’t they answer for you? I bet if it was someone else calling they would have answered, you may begin to think. Imagine hours go by and this friend still has not returned your phone call and you know this is a time where they would be free to talk. You might become upset, you start to think about how you would never treat them that way, you start believing they aren’t as great of a friend as you previously thought. Now imagine that same friend received a message that a relative died. They frantically are trying to find out details, figure out how they will afford a plane ticket back home, and emotionally are completely drained. Would you still be upset? Would you still consider this person a bad friend? Most likely not. You would probably feel pretty bad for only thinking of yourself. Immediately you might begin to think of ways you could help your friend out or be there for them.

Now, let’s think about this scenario, you are dating someone new and the last few times you spoke to them, you initiated contact. You may feel like this person doesn’t like you very much, is dating someone else, or is just being nice by accepting your calls. You may have had great conversations every time you spoke to them, but by them not contacting you first, you begin to doubt whether or not this person is a good match for you. So you pull back, you stop contacting them and now they, and you are both wondering what exactly went wrong. Now, let’s say this person was told by their last partner that they were too clingy. They were berated for calling or texting “too much” and they don’t want to make the same mistake with you. Let’s also say this person enjoys talking to you, but has just been so extremely bottled down with work they haven’t had the time to call you, but make the time to talk each time you call, because they enjoy talking to you. This person could also not be sure where or how to fit you into their life, so they are taking things slowly because they know once they commit, they truly commit and they don’t want to get hurt in the process. The truth is, we could go down a million different scenarios and get frustrated, upset, beat ourselves up, whatever in the process. It could mean they aren’t truly interested and it could also mean a million other things. Unless you talk to the person about it, you will never know what they are feeling.

Finally, let’s say you have a big event that you are planning, that you have been super stressed about. All of your friends, family and coworkers will be attending and you want to impress them. The day of the big event comes and your significant other shows up, but they don’t have flowers, champagne, a gift, a speech, nothing. They show up, and are there for you, but are completely empty handed. You’re livid. You assumed they woud bring you something. They should know to bring you something. Why didn’t they know to bring you something? As much as you may love and care about your partner, just like you, they are not a mind reader. Them not bringing you a gift, is not a slight to you, it could simply mean, gifting is not their love language, so they didn’t know how important receiving a gift on your big day would have been to you. They also may have wanted to do something for you but were simply low on funds. They could also think that the last few weeks they spent rubbing your feet, helping you plan, blowing up balloons until their lungs were about to collapse would have meant just as much to you as receiving a gift. Unless you state your expectations, your likes, wants and needs to a person, you can not assume that they know, or get mad when they don’t do the thing you assumed they would.

Each and every person on this earth is dealing with their own set of agreements, their own thoughts of how the world is and should be and often make the huge mistake that everyone else views things exactly how they do. When someone does something that goes against the agreements that person has already made in their mind of how the world should be, they take it personally. They feel like something was done purposely to hurt them because, they should have known, right? But no one was raised exactly how you were, with the exact same life experiences as you have had. We are all so unique and even when someone seems to be so similar to you, you never know the agreements they have made about certain things in their mind or how they process the world around them. When we focus on not assuming anything, based on our own perspectives and start being curious, leading with grace and asking questions to gain clarity, we free up our mental space from self-induced pain, hurt and anger and begin realizing that everyone is as uniquely different as their thought processes and nothing anyone does is ever truly about us.

As always

Love & light






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