Breaking Free from Assumptions
Don Miguel Ruiz, through his book, Four Agreements has made popular the idea: Don’t make assumptions. It is certainly a wise piece of advice. This, however, is also a complicated agreement to adopt since many assumptions are deeply hidden in our unconscious belief system to the degree that we are unaware of their existence or power. In our lack of awareness, beliefs get woven into the fabric of our being so completely that we are blind to them. This includes how normal racism, bigotry, ageism, nationalism and all other types of “isms” have become. The way we treat women, men and children is partially due to the result of deep-seated, unconscious beliefs, habits and assumptions.
Unchallenged, these resident beliefs become assumptions and they inform our very way of being! One of the ways to uproot these assumptions is to begin to question everything. Yes, question your “whys” and your motives for everything. Listen intently and be very, very honest with yourself. The assumptions referenced here automatically promote blind prejudice and significantly limit our real-time experience. These beliefs often cause us to be judgmental, becoming blindly righteous about those beliefs. We can find ourselves avoiding individuals, groups and situations unconsciously. Support of these limitations come from wanting to be safe - and being safe can translate into limiting ourselves to being around only that which is familiar. And this is one of the ways we unconsciously create separation. So, consider this, if you cannot identify a logical reason to support a belief, choice and or behavior, consider making a new decision and redirect your attention.
Steven Covey, in his book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, taught us to begin with the end in mind. This is the way to address the causes of separation. In order to begin breaking down all those fear-based assumptions, we begin with some great questions: How do I want to feel? How do I want to walk in this world? How much love am I willing to experience? How free am I willing to be? AND, how rich would my life be if I were able to enjoy the diversity of people, cultures, and differences in my life? Asking questions and asking yourself “Why?” will keep you from going unconscious.
Once you identify your end desire, for example: FREEDOM, the questions you ask of yourself and the choices that follow will pull you gently in a direction that will leave you freer than you have been, leaving behind old habits and ways of being that support you playing small. Now, we have married together the invitation to “make no assumptions” with “beginning with the end in mind.” The result is a freer, more authentically and fully expressed you.
SO... Ask yourself:
• What do I believe?
· Why do I believe what I believe?
· Why do I avoid certain people or types of people?
· What richness am I missing out on by not taking risks?
· Who do I want to be in the world?
Curiosity is the cure for assumptions, judgmental behavior and playing small, all of which cause pain.