In my last blog post, “Do You Have a Favorite Agreement?” based on the teaching of don Miguel Ruiz, I offered a list of what The Four Agreements are, as well as a very brief description of how they play out in my life, especially the second agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally. And although this second agreement is the one that really moved the Earth beneath me (my entire outlook changed after understanding this agreement), it’s actually the third agreement that’s the most difficult for me.
The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
I’ve often wondered why the other three: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Things Personally, and Always Do Your Best come more naturally to me and the third has been such an ongoing process (struggle might be a more appropriate word). That’s not to say 1, 2, and 4 are easy, they ALL come with their fair share of work and nuances, but darn if ‘Don’t Make Assumptions’ doesn’t kick me in the butt every time!
From an intellectual standpoint, I get it. It, like the others, is very straight forward.
If you also struggle with this one, here’s my two cents on why I think I do — maybe it’s the same for you.
I live in my head. I am very good company for myself, as I tend to create stories all the time. I mean, ALL THE TIME. It’s probably why I’m a writer — I love the story.
This living in my head, inventing stories, started as a young girl. Growing up out in the country, surrounded by lots of dogs and cows, I began weaving stories as a means to entertain myself.
Making assumptions is very much like weaving a story, a bad story.
Did Someone Say, “Don’t Make Assumptions?”
Here is an actual example I overheard while trying on clothes recently. In the dressing room next to me, two girls were talking.
“Did you see the way he looked at me? That was a really nice smile, right? Come on! Let’s go!!”
“What?? Where?! I’m not finished.”
“I need to charge my phone! I bet he’s going to call. No, he’ll probably text first.”
“Does he even have your number?”
“What? I don’t know. Yes. Whatever. Let’s go!”
Okay, maybe this is more delusional or some seriously wishful thinking than it is assuming, but you get the picture. Delusions, wishful thinking, making assumptions, they’re all pure fantasy. None rooted in truth. All poised to invite pain and grief right into your mind. Right into your heart. And with this, enters poison.
What To Do, What To Do?
At some point in my life, either someone brought it to my attention or I realized for myself that this was a habit of mine. Once I had the awareness, I was able to think about what I was doing, which led to an immediate observation: making assumptions does nothing but cause me pain.
It doesn’t really matter why I do it, it still stands: Making assumptions is not good for my head, my heart, my life.
Oh yes, I suppose my ego gives a hearty clap for how clever it is when my assumption proves to be true… but really, who cares? Being right? Is being right really all that important?? (Answer: the older I get, the less important it becomes.)
In making assumptions, I create a lot of unnecessary inner junk.
Unfortunately, these assumptions become reality in our minds. We latch on to something , before we know whether it’s true or not. Yet here it is, completely true in our minds.
Once there’s awareness of an issue, action is the key to seeing improvement, and in this case, the action is as straight forward as the agreement: ask questions.
Before making an assumption, ask a question. Still unclear? Ask another question. And continue asking questions until you feel you’re clear about what the truth is. Make that your reality.