When you make an assumption, you tell yourself that something is true without actually having any evidence that it is. It’s something we may all do daily, without realising.
They could be small assumptions, such as assuming there’ll be food at a party, or they could be bigger, such as:
- You don’t get a promotion at work, so you assume you aren’t good at your job
- Your partner isn’t very talkative lately, so you assume they are angry with you
- A parent has never understood your life choices, so you assume they don’t love you
- A friend asks another friend to an activity with them instead of you, so you assume they don’t like you anymore
We make all kinds of assumptions, based on probabilities that have to do with our past experiences – good or bad. Sometimes assumptions are helpful, but often they can prove unproductive—or even damaging. By acting on our assumptions as if they were true, we've constructed a reality that does not reflect what's happening in the moment.
Assumptions have the capacity to damage not only our relationship with others, but the relationship we have with ourself. If you always assume you know how others think or feel, you stop listening and communicating which can lead to feeling misunderstood, having a low self-esteem, and a sense of loneliness and abandonment. Assumptions also block possibilities - they impede your ability to think creativity and to take chances.
Essentially, if assumptions go unchecked or unchallenged they can spiral negative thinking so it’s important to assess whether this is something you do regularly and if so, how you can stop making assumptions that can cost you your health, wealth, relationships and work.
Try these three techniques to help break your habit of guessing and making assumptions.
1. Assess the Evidence
It is extremely important to remind yourself that nothing happens until it really happens. Just because something was expressed in a way that bothered you doesn’t mean that it was done intentionally. If you don’t have evidence to support your theory about what occurred, it didn’t occur.
2. Trust Your Ability to Problem-Solve
Remind yourself that you have the problem-solving ability to figure out a solution whenever it’s required. Preemptive problem solving is not going to help you. It creates anxiety that may be unnecessary and wastes precious bandwidth and mental energy.
3. Develop Restriction
Learn the strategy of restriction and restrict yourself from overthinking situations by using distraction techniques. Things like listening to music, journaling, taking a bath, and exercising are examples of distraction techniques. Restriction helps build patience and frustration tolerance. It makes avoiding assumptions much easier and the benefits are multifold.
When you stop making assumptions and cease playing the guessing game in your mind, your life will ultimately be enhanced. When you resist and live in the moment, you will feel less guarded, and your relationships, work life, and personal growth will be more stable. You will learn to trigger more patience and frustration tolerance, which in turn will build stronger feelings of self-love and self-confidence.
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