How to Stop Making Assumptions that Ruin Your Relationships
It’s not news that assumptions are relationship killers. But why haven’t people stopped making them? Because assumptions are subtle; they’re hard to detect and easy to believe. Assumptions often appear as the truth, with supposed “proofs” to back them up, and that’s what makes it hard to dispute. Think about a man who forgets to take out the trash despite his wife asking him on multiple occasions. While he may have innocently forgotten, she has all the “proof” she needs to conclude that he’s unhelpful. But is that the real truth? No, she’s making an assumption that appears true. As a result, she leaves herself vulnerable to resentment and finding faults, which would over time most likely lead them to a marriage counselor.
One of the core reasons for resentment in a relationship is making assumptions. It’s even worse when you don’t talk to your partner about it. By allowing the resentment to fester, you’ll become passively aggressive as you wait to pick on any fault, no matter how little. Eventually, when you’re confronted, you’ll find out that you had no genuine reason to be mad at your partner. Assumptions make you hurt yourself more than it hurts your partner.
It’s easy to say “don’t assume”, but you can only do that when you know how assumptions take root. You first need to see the assumption for what it is. Being unable to tell what your partner is thinking, often leaves you with a limited perspective on things. But that is how we all are, no human has access to the thoughts of another human being. We can only get access to thoughts by asking questions.
How assumptions work is that they make you feel a sense of control or pride in that “you know all about your partner”. As a result, you don’t feel the need to ask questions. While it’s possible to know your partner deeply, the fact still remains that you don’t know all about what’s going on in his/her mind. Plus, you don’t see things from his/her perspective.
Assumption starts by not asking questions and making judgments based on what you observe. When you see that you’ve stopped asking questions, and you’re passively observing your partner’s actions, just know that assumption is slowly making its way into your heart.
How to Stop Making Assumptions
Rather than placing yourself under an unnecessary burden that threatens both your happiness and your relationship, there are ways you can resist urges that give you permission to ‘already know it all’. There are simple measures you can put in place to avoid making assumptions or even acting on assumptions. No matter how genuine an assumption seems, it is not the whole truth. As always, the truth will set you free.
Ask Questions For Clarity
The only way to know what a person is thinking is to ask questions. No matter how objective you might want to be, no matter the number of facts you’ve gathered, you can only find out your partner’s perspective when you ask the right questions. Rather than concluding that your partner intentionally failed to take out the trash just to get on your nerves, ask why he/she didn’t help out as you requested. Procrastination often ends in forgetting not purposeful ignoring.
Choose Peace Over War
There are ways in which you ask questions that would seem as though you’re ready to pick a fight. No matter how hurt you are, try your best to sound passive rather than accusatory. In most cases when you’re ready to rumble, your mind doesn’t give room for forgiveness or innocent mistakes. But you mustn’t let this happen, as even an apology would be meaningless to you in such moments. Choose peace in how you approach your partner concerning an issue of concern. Learn to forgive before you even approach your partner. Shake off negative thoughts based on assumptions – so long as they’re bound to threaten your happiness, you need to shut them out.
Test Your Facts First
While it might look like you have all the facts, you need to take a moment to test them. Ask yourself if there’s something you’re missing. For instance, your husband turned his phone off before bed for the past two nights. It might seem as though he’s trying to hide something. You get suspicious. Was he intentionally making you feel that way? Have you factored in the fact that there may be perfectly logically explanations for him turning off his phone? Was he trying to avoid being pestered by his staff or coworkers? Was his phone making weird noises in the middle of the night from an update and he didn’t want to disturb you? Couldn’t there really be 100 different reasons other than the fact he is trying to hide something from you? For every fact you have, examine it deeply if it passes the test of innocent reasons or possible mistakes. It helps when you ask questions too.
Let Go of Control
Assumptions make us feel as though we have everything figured out. You might feel like you know all there is about your partner, but that would be boxing them in and leaving no room for growth or fun. To avoid assumptions, ensure you cut your partner some slack. Give room for human error and be ready to forgive and let go when you don’t feel comfortable with something.
There’s no better way to clarify a misunderstanding than to talk about it. Rather than dwell on assumptions and bitterness, go up to your partner and express how you feel. Chances are that it was an honest mistake, and they didn’t intend to hurt you. When you talk to your partner, you give yourself the opportunity to pour out the burden assumptions place in your heart. Thus, you feel relieved and also give room for clarity.
Assumptions are unhealthy for you and your relationship. They can destroy vulnerable communication and meaningful sharing. You place yourself under unnecessary stress, feeling locked up such that you can’t pour out how you feel. What’s worse is that you might be acting based on assumptions without even knowing. But if you’re willing to let nothing stand in the way of your relationship and if you’re committed to growth, you resolve misunderstandings quickly and you stand a real chance of kicking your habit of making assumptions to the curb. It all boils down to what you want for your relationship and doing the work (or paying the price) to stop making assumptions.
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