How often in relationships have you made the assumption that the other person should know what you need?
How often do we make assumptions about what others are thinking and doing – then take it personally, blame them and react by withdrawing, making false judgments about them or responding with emotionally hurtful words? (I've been so guilty here!)
We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything based on another assumption……that everyone sees life the way we do.
We assume others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge.
This is why we fear being ourselves around others. We think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us, and blame us as we do ourselves.
So even before others even have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves!
In any kind of relationship, whether it’s a partnership, friendship, or colleague at work, we often make the assumption that others know what we think and we don’t have to say what we need or want and. . . . . they’re going to do what we need or want because they know us so well.
If they don’t do what we assume they should do, we feel hurt and think, “How could they do that?”
Here are ways I’ve found helpful to keep myself from making assumptions……
First and foremost stay curious.
Have the courage to ask questions and if you don’t understand ask and clarify what you’re hearing.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, hurt and sadness.
Continue asking questions until you are as clear as you can be, and then don’t assume you know all there is to know about a given situation.
Find your voice to ask for what you want. Everyone has the right to tell you yes or no, but you always have the right to ask.
Interestingly, we can also make assumptions about ourselves!
We might assume that our vision and goals are still relevant, when in fact they need to be updated so that we can move forward with fresh energy and motivation.
We might assume certain limitations, when the only thing that is limiting us is our assumptions.
We might assume that our routine is efficient because it is comfortable, when in fact it is stagnant.
We might assume a lack of support, when many supporters are just waiting to be asked.
We might assume that we have done all that is possible to bring about desired results, when indeed there are other options.
As it turns out, it is very easy to clarify, by asking questions, while we are in conversation with someone else, or if we are engaging ourselves in conversation. And it makes for a much better dialogue that can help us strengthen and deepen our relationships, and thus make our activities not just more effective, but also more enjoyable!
Albert Einstein said that we cannot solve new problems by using the same approaches that got us where we are. He might have also said that we cannot notice fresh opportunities and solutions if
we assume that we already know everything.
So be curious, inquire more, and assume less! Try it and let me know how it works.