Recently I have been using the ideas in ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz as focus for the Halcyon Daily Meditations. Today we got to the third agreement, which is ‘Don’t Make Assumptions’.

I’m afraid making assumptions is something that we pretty much all do. Have you ever heard yourself saying, ‘I assume that when you did…’, ‘when you said….’, or ‘I thought that when you said…’?

There’s something about Human Nature that makes us assume that we understand what the other person means by what they say. And sometimes people’s actions are even more difficult to interpret than their words. We use our own experiences to make sense of what others say and do. We assume that what we would have done or said in any given situation is what they have done or said.


You can’t control everything

Photo by Abigail on Unsplash

As you might have heard me say many times, you have no control over what other people think, say or do, but more than that, you have no idea what that other person’s experiences, beliefs, or ideas really are, unless they’re the kind of person who makes it very, very clear.


You can’t even assume people are telling the truth because not everybody does. Many of us put out a version of ourselves that we think people want to see, and that’s not really us at all. So many of my clients have told me vital information just as they walk out of the door or at their last appointment. In those circumstances, you’re definitely not seeing or hearing the real person, so you are very likely to make assumptions based on what you’ve heard and what you think and feel.


But the main problem is that we often believe that the assumptions we make are the truth. We think we know what other people are thinking, but in reality, we can’t.  We react to what we assume they were doing or thinking, we misunderstand, we take it personally and we create a drama out of nothing.


Avoiding Drama

So how can we get around this? How can we avoid making assumptions about other people and how can we make sure that other people don’t misinterpret what we actually mean?


In fact, the answer is to be found when we look at the First Agreement, ‘Be Impeccable With Your Word’. You need to make sure that when you do speak, you’re very clear on what it is you’re saying.  If you can communicate clearly yourself, hopefully you can avoid misunderstanding and drama.


In addition, when you hear something or see something from somebody else, ask questions, make sure that you are correctly interpreting what they are doing or saying. Often we hear what people say, but we’re not actually listening to them. The skill of actually being present with the other person and listening, needs to be practiced.

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