Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions
“The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.”
— The Four Agreements, Chapter 4
The Third Agreement is similar to the Second Agreement: Don’t take anything personally. We assume our reality is the same as someone else’s reality, so we fit whatever they do or say into how we view the world. We create stories around our reality. As you all are aware, we cannot read another person’s mind and know what they’re thinking, but there are times we act like we can!
Do you ever read into texts, or emails and think you have the other person “figured out”? You believe you know their reason, their intention, or their motivation, but that assumption is based on your reality and your beliefs. Theirs are probably different.
Remember the episode from last week… Your reality is simply that: YOUR reality. Their reality is THEIR reality.
Why do people assume? Here are a few reasons:
Assumptions/Truth vs. Fantasy
If you don’t ask questions, you can continue on comfortably with the illusion that everything is just fine. It’s safer to assume your partner doesn’t want to commit (whether it’s marriage or otherwise) because he/she is not ready to settle down. You can literally assume the years away, afraid of confronting an inconvenient truth: maybe he/she doesn’t want to commit to you but because we are mirrors for each other, that leads to asking where you’re afraid to commit and why you attracted this person in the first place.
Ruiz writes, “We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
Assumptions and our Feelings
Assumptions allow you to avoid your own deeper feelings, the ones tied to your negative beliefs around rejection, abandonment, not being good enough, etc. If you assume rather than asking questions, you avoid confronting those beliefs, enabling you to stay within your fantasy.
But is that living fully and authentically? No, because you are operating from a place of fear rather than love. Assumptions keep you stuck in fear.
If your fear of abandonment holds you back from being authentic within your relationship, you never face your fears. Ask yourself, At what cost? How many months/years are you willing to waste, making assumptions about your relationships, only to find out your assumption was wrong?
Assumptions and our Expectations and Reality
When you assume, you attach your expectations to the outcome, often leading to disappointment. If you’re sad, you assume your partner or coparent can pick up on how you’re feeling and know exactly what to do (i.e. spend time, make dinner, buy chocolate or flowers, etc.). If he/she doesn’t do one of these things (your expectation), you’re hurt. You believe if someone loves you, they should automatically know how you feel and what you need. But remember–their reality is not the same as yours.
Ruiz says: “We assume that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. Because we think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us and blame us as we do ourselves. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves. That is the way the human mind works.”