For Better Relationships, Stop Doing This

We have many types of relationships in our lives. Such as our spouse, family, friends, coworkers, and even the cashier at the local store. While some of these are more important than others, life is great with better relationships. Building better relationships requires commitment and investment from both sides. But all that hard work could be ruined by one thing, making assumptions.

This is part 3 of a 4 part series inspired by the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The lesser of two evils

Is it easier to ask someone a personal question that might be confrontational or make an assumption? When we make an assumption, we are lying to ourselves and the problem with that is we accept it as the truth. You wouldn’t lie to yourself, would you? You’re an honest human being, and that would be the last thing you would do.

So now we have this assumption, a made-up truth and if we prove this truth to be a lie we become upset, hurt, and angry and we take it personally.  This is all created from nothing, all the anger, hurt feelings and disappointment.

Still, it is easier to make an assumption than to start a confrontation, right? Well, if you believe confrontation is a negative thing, the answer is simple. However, we can define confrontation as a bringing together of ideas, themes, etc., for comparison. Now, Confrontation is a means to an understanding or clarification where an assumption is a misunderstanding or ignorance. Also remember, you learned two new rules, be impeccable with your word and don’t take things personally.

It creates problems in relationships

One of the biggest problems in a relationship stems from making assumptions. We make the assumption that our significant other knows us so well that they know what we want, feel, and think. But when they do something against those assumptions, we get hurt or upset. The truth of the matter is that you never asked questions or shared your wants, feelings, or thoughts with your significant other, you just assumed they should know.

So why do we make assumptions? One answer is fear. There is so much in this world that we don’t know about and we will make assumptions about them so we have an answer. These answers are not always correct, but they are believable to us and it makes us feel safe.

When we meet new people, we assume that they think, have the same needs, share the same opinions, and have the same beliefs as us. As foolish as this sounds, we do this out of fear. Fear of being ourselves, because we want the acceptance from others and avoid confrontation. But if you think about it, you already rejected yourself and that is far worse than being rejected from a person or a group of people you don’t even know.

We could learn a lot from a child

These three new rules, be impeccable with your word, don’t take things personally, and don’t make assumptions come naturally to a child. A child doesn’t know how to use their words to hurt someone, we have filled their experience with love and praise. A child is still learning new things every day and developing a personality. Their opinions are about things like food, playtime, and sleep because they are still creating their world. They don’t understand the concept of taking things personally. A child hasn’t been in thousands of similar situations where they can make an assumption.

Watch how children interact with others, especially someone different. We all experienced or heard of a time when a child asked a question to someone different from them. A question that made the parent apologize profusely. Such as, why is your skin color different from mine? Why are you in that chair? Or, why do you need those things to walk? But what is the reaction from that person? It’s usually a chuckle or a smile and a simple answer that the child will understand. Why is that? Could it be the innocence of a child or that person knowing that all that child knows is love there is not a drop of prejudice or hate in that child? Well, maybe hate for vegetables.

I hope this blog provided you with some useful information. If you enjoyed this article, please sign up to receive my newsletter. Thank you and remember, if you shoot for the stars and come up short you’ll still land in the clouds, but if you shoot for the clouds and come up short, you’ll land in the dirt.

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