Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Third Agreement #Lettinggo #TheBestofMe

As I continue to make my way through The Four Agreements, we arrive at agreement #3: Make no assumptions. In the book, the advice is as follows: “Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstanding, sadness, and drama.”
There are many ways that we make assumptions:
- We take insults personally
- We assume that everything is about us
- We assume people just know what we want
- We assume people know what we mean, when maybe our communication is unclear
- We assume we know what someone means when they speak.
- We assume that we can change people
- We assume certain events, people, actions are horrible or good
Of course, this makes me think of the age old adage—Assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME.

So how do we keep ourselves from making assumptions?
            -When someone is horrible to you, don’t take it personally. It might be because they had a bad day or because someone was horrible to them. It could be they are fighting with their own issues and you are just a mirror for that problem. Whatever the case, even if they call you fat and ugly, it’s not about you. It’s about them.

            -We assume everything is about us. If our partners don’t do the dishes, it’s a slap in the face, rather than the fact they might just be exhausted. If we are passed over for promotion, it’s because someone hates us rather than someone else was more qualified.

            -We assume people know what we want. It’s very romantic, the idea that someone can just look at me and know my deepest desires, fulfilling them without effort. If this magic was commonplace, novels about mindreading boyfriends wouldn’t be so popular. The fact is that people don’t know what we want. They are so wrapped up in their own dramas, that if we want something we are going to have to ask. Asking questions is the best way to clarify communication.
            - We assume people know what we mean, when maybe our communication is unclear. We assume we know what someone means when they speak. Half the time I don’t even know what I mean when I’m talking, so assuming that other people know what I mean is ridiculous. The reverse is also true. Just because someone says something, it doesn’t mean that’s what they meant. If that were always true, we would haven’t the saying “Don’t say things you don’t mean.”
       - We assume that we can change people. We cannot change people. They can only change themselves. Period. Yet that doesn’t stop us from trying though and the trying part is the exact opposite of “letting go”. So instead of working so hard to make people the way we want them to be (children, friends, spouses) we should focus on our own growth instead.

-We assume certain events, people, actions are horrible or good. This is another one of those ideas that I came across in Buddhism. And it relates to Shakespeare’s famous quote which I mentioned before: “Nothing is neither good nor bad, it is our thoughts that make it so.” I personally find it beneficial to apply positivity in all situations regardless of whether they are good or bad. (Buddhists: nothing is good or bad). If something terrible happens, I can cry about it or I can say "what an awesome opportunity to strengthen my "letting go" muscles. I can despair at my circumstances or I can be grateful for what I have. Of course, even applying positivity is unnecessary, if I manage to not assume something was "horrible" to begin with.

What assumptions do you often make?

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