Assumptions are the one thing that cause more arguing, upset and overall issues than anything else in the World of Agreements. In fact, assumptions are responsible for more disappointment than anything else in your life. An assumption occurs anytime you assume someone is going to do something without actually talking to them about it. The thought of "common courtesy" is a great idea, but in practice is is just another assumption; people don't all think alike, so expecting someone else to do something just because it is something you would do, or it makes sense to you is only going to leave you disappointed at best.
In romantic relationships, assumptions usually start as soon as the relationship does. Whenever you enter a relationship it is important that you know where the relationship stands between you and your partner. Even if you agree to be in a monogamous relationship, you both need to know exactly what that means to you. This also applies if you are entering an open or polyamorous relationship. When you discuss your needs within the relationship as well as your boundaries, you will save both of you a lot of heartache. When you take away the assumption, both of you can act freely within the container that you have set and know exactly where you stand with each other.
Assumptions are not limited to romance, they appear in every relationship in your life. When you do a favor for someone then you expect them to return the favor, you are making an assumption. When you give someone money to make a drink run and expect change without telling them so, you are making an assumption. When you expect someone to do something for your birthday without asking, you are making an assumption. You get the idea. Any unspoken expectations you have are assumptions, not agreements. This applies to your family, friends, children, lovers, co-workers, clients - anyone you have a relationship with. If you want to avoid disappointment in your life, start speaking up and telling other people what you expect of them. It might take some practice, and it might be uncomfortable at first, but in the end you will save yourself headaches and heartache if you take the time to clear up the assumptions you have been acting on with the people in your life.
A layer deeper with this concept of assumptions is in language. Even if you make an agreement with someone else, regardless of context, it is important that both of you understand what you expect of each other. What you mean when you say something is not necessarily what someone else hears. You have had your life experiences that have allowed you to interpret information just like they have, so make sure you reflect back to each other what it is you really need. This will allow you to clear up any confusion before it gets to be a problem, and it is a simple conversation for you to have with someone. When you ask them to do something, or share a need that you have, just ask the other person to tell you their interpretation of what you have asked. The next step is to listen to what they reflect and correct anything that you need to in a loving, compassionate way. It is not that this person is not listening to you, just that what they heard you say is different than what you meant. If you can start having these conversations with the people in your life, you will clear up your assumptions, and you may be interested to hear how you are being heard by the people around you.
If you find yourself constantly disappointed by others, remember:
Your voice matters!
The only person who can change your relationships is you; never forget the power of your voice.
1. What are some of the assumptions you are aware of in your life when it comes to your lovers (how do you expect them to act, what do you expect them to do / not do, etc)? How often have you been disappointed by them because they acted outside of the way you assume they will act?
2. What are some of the ways you expect your friends to act? Do you find yourself disappointed when they act differently than how you expect? What would it be like to have a clarifying conversation with them about your expectations within the friendship?
Continue listening to the Attention Training: Finding Your Voice and start to notice what it feels like to hold opposites within your body and mind.