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The problem with assuming

We are all familiar with the saying “don’t assume because it makes an ass of you and me”.  While it may seem like an over-used cliché, let’s look at the truth of this little quip.  Haven’t we all gotten into trouble at one point or another for assuming things were one way when in fact that couldn’t have been further from the truth?

Think about the assumptions that you have made in the past. How much conflict, heartache and drama have been created because of it?  It’s crazy to think that our assumptions are really just thoughts that we have created about our reality.  It would seem that assumptions are just making our lives even more complicated than they already are!

A Course in Miracles teaches that the reality we perceive is the just an illusion.  Our perception of what is real is clouded by our egos, by our perceived separateness from everything around us.  Instead of admitting that we do not understand or know the truth, we make assumptions about what the truth is.  Unfortunately for many of us, our tendency is to assume the worst.  It’s easy to rationalize this way of thinking, convincing ourselves that assuming the worst is the wisest way to manage our expectations.  What we don’t understand is that this way of thinking leads to creating our “reality” unconsciously!

It’s amazing the vicious cycle this kind of thinking can create.  We assume the worst we receive the worst and then we use the fact that we got what we expected as proof that we are justified in making those assumptions.  We consider ourselves “realists”, not “pessimists”, but really we’re our own worst nightmare!

This kind of thinking isn’t realistic it’s actually quite sadistic!  If you believe in the power of your thoughts (and even if you don’t) it begs the question – does assuming the worst serve you?  Of course not!  Most assumptions don’t serve us at all.  We set ourselves up for disappointment and conflict when we choose to believe that our perception of any given situation is the truth.

In relationships, we tend to assume after a certain length of time that our partners know us.  We believe that they know all our likes and dislikes, so any action or words said that hurt or offend us must have been done intentionally, but is that really the case?  How many times have we been the offender, not having a clue how “an innocent joke” could lead to hurt feelings or harsh words?

At work, we worry that our co-worker is mad at us because he/she hasn’t been as social or friendly as they normally are, but why do we assume that it has anything to do with us?  What if they’re having personal issues?  We could “what if” all day, but the one thing we know for sure is that we don’t know.

Instead of creating realities in our minds that may or may not actually exist, why not focus on what we do know; our own truth.  As we focus on becoming more self-aware, our need/desire to make assumptions will decrease significantly. When we are able to master this, our lives flow easier and we are able to focus our time on the things and people that are important to us.