The Assumption Cycle - How to Stop It and Gain Awareness
What happens when a friend doesn’t respond to a text?
Do you assume she’s busy & forgot?
Or does the idea that she’s avoiding you or upset with you just keep showing up in the back of your mind? And then you start searching for why she might be avoiding you & fall down that super fun rabbit hole.
What about when your sister comments on how she’d do the thing you're working on?
Do you find it helpful or do you start wondering if she thinks you're an idiot who can’t tie her own shoes?!
Your partner is grumpy.
Is the thought…”oh he’s in a mood” or is it…
“What did I do? Why is he upset with me?”
One of my favorite questions to ask my coaching clients is what are you making it mean?
When we decide another person’s intent without actually knowing the facts we can get ourselves into a spiral of all kinds of negative thoughts.
And those thoughts are usually about how inadequate you are, something “stupid” you said or did that you wish you could take back or apologize for RIGHT NOW if they’d only respond to your text, or lashing out at them in your mind.
NONE of these ^^ set you up for a good next interaction AND corrodes the time that ticks away until your next conversation.
Assuming can make you act squirrely, bringing out the full shape-shifting-people-pleaser. You know all the things that come out when you want someone to like you...being extra nice, watching every step, & biting your tongue. All of which can make you like yourself less.
Ugh. It's a vicious cycle. 🙄
What are you making the interaction, conversation, comment, silence, or look mean??
My client Marcie was implementing a complicated new project at work. She’d never managed anything like this before. When it wasn’t going well & her boss wasn’t saying much she assumed that meant her boss thought she was incapable & would be fired.
Stop and think about this.
Marcie decided that her boss staying out of the way meant that she wasn’t capable of handling the project. She was making it mean that she stunk at her job, everyone knew it, and she was about to get fired.
Was she basing this on facts? NO!
She was basing it on zero input from the boss.
As it turned out her boss believes in letting her team figure things out on their own -which Marcie eventually did & the project was hugely successful. But, not before Marcie had worked herself into a complete lather over what she ASSUMED her boss was thinking about her.
She could’ve asked for feedback or help. But, instead she stewed and stressed her and probably unwillingly oozed that stress on to everyone around her at work and at home.
My mom used to always say “...never assume, you’ll make an ass out of you and me”. Thanks Joyce.
The next time you find yourself feeling uneasy about a situation, ask what you're making it mean?
But let’s be honest, most of us BELIEVE everything we think to be a fact so this isn’t an easy question to answer.
Having some awareness around making assumptions is a good place to start.
And if you genuinely want to stop torturing yourself by making other people’s comments, looks, actions etc. mean something about you, let’s talk. Having support in doing this kind of work makes all the difference.
Book a complimentary consult and we’ll talk about the relationships or interactions that are challenging you. I promise whether you work with me or not, you’ll walk away with more clarity.
Let's kick assumption in the arse! :)
I get this tendency toward assumption, the fear that comes with it and the people pleasing BS intimately. That was me. Not surprisingly, it's also the women who are attracted to my work. I've helped myself & my clients with this.
Let me help you too.