The Four Agreements: Never Assume
Assuming things can be a tricky business. It’s easy to do, especially when we interact with others on a daily basis. We make assumptions about their intentions, their beliefs, and their actions. But what if those assumptions are wrong? What if we’ve been misinterpreting someone’s behavior all along? The Four Agreements, created by Don Miguel Ruiz, offer sage advice on how to live a happier life, and one of the most important agreements is to never assume.
Assumption is one of the most significant causes of misunderstandings and conflicts between individuals. It’s when we create in our minds a story about what someone else thinks, feels, or wants without ever checking in with them. Often, these stories are based on our own past experiences, biases, or insecurities. We may assume that someone is upset with us because of something we said or did when, in reality, they had a bad day at work and are just tired. Or we may believe that someone doesn’t like us when, in fact, they’re just shy.
To avoid these misinterpretations, the first agreement is to never assume. This requires us to ask questions and seek clarification rather than making assumptions based on our own perceptions. It means having the courage to communicate our own thoughts and feelings, as well as the willingness to listen to others. When we don’t assume, we create clearer channels of communication, build stronger relationships, and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
The second agreement is to be impeccable with our word. This means speaking with integrity and using our words to empower ourselves and others. When we assume, we may be tempted to gossip or spread rumors about people. This type of behavior damages trust and erodes relationships, so it’s essential to use our words wisely.
The third agreement is to not take anything personally. When we make assumptions, we often become defensive or offended when someone disagrees with us. But the truth is, other people’s actions and words are not about us – they are about them. By not taking things personally, we become less reactive and more compassionate.
The fourth agreement is to always do our best. When we assume, we limit ourselves and others. We may overlook opportunities or fail to see the potential in someone because of our own preconceived notions. By doing our best and being open-minded, we allow ourselves and others to grow and learn.
In conclusion, never assuming is one of the most critical agreements we can make in life. It requires us to be honest, clear, and compassionate in our interactions with others. By following the Four Agreements, we can create happier, healthier, and more fulfilling relationships with everyone we meet.