Have you read The Four Agreements by Don Miquel Ruiz? It’s a great little book; short, sweet and to the point. It certainly made me ponder many of my flaws and prompted me to work on them.
However this is always far harder in the real world, it is very easy to put ourselves in a personal growth and spiritual bubble (i.e. when we are reading the book we are in a calm, peaceful, thoughtful space) but in the fast lane of life we stumble and fumble around. This is as it should be; we are all only human after all. If it was easy, we would have little compassion for others.
One sticking point for many of us is making assumptions, which can then lead to harsh and inaccurate judgements. I see how easily we can slip into this every day.
We tend to jump headfirst in from a gut feeling, or based on someone’s behaviour, actions, or words; or even a feeling that we get about someone before we even meet them. Very few of us delve deeper to get to the core of what triggered us in the first place. Nope we go headfirst in with the assumption and some of us even crediting ourselves on our great skill in summing up someones character.
As a highly sensitive empath this is something that I have had to work VERY hard on; and still am. I am feeling people and their emotions all the time. But I cannot make an assumption on anything because I have grown to be aware that I can be sensing many things around them that can confuse and add layers to the picture I am sensing. For example, I may be around someone and they are angry, like a simmering pot. I could immediately jump to the conclusion that they are an angry person. But what if I am not sensing their anger but the anger that they have been subjected to in their lives. If I sense someone trying to control me or their environment, I could make an assumption that they are controlling but what if they are trying to cling on to the last piece of sanity in an unhappy and abusive relationship? An example for many of us that may not see deeper is the common story of being in the store and subjected to terrible customer service. We could (logically) make an assumption for ever and ever about the person and the store; but what if they just had some bad news or were worried about a loved one ill at home.
Who am we to judge without knowing more? Even though my radar for feeling people is sharply attuned I have learnt that there can be many threads and cords attached to what I am sensing and to not jump in too fast, too far, without delving deeper; and that is if I am supposed to. Sometimes, it is not my business to do so. Discernment is the word here I guess. Not everyone wants my help, not everyone’s life needs me to pull it apart. I have also had to learn the skill of observation and patience. To let things flow a while first..
So, today I ask you to ponder some of the following which have been topical in the clinic lately, and if you can then stretch these ideas even further. Ask yourself, ARE YOU MAKING ASSUMPTIONS? Are you too quick to JUDGE?
- Very often when we meet someone, we get an uncomfortable feeling and without thinking too much decide we don’t like them. Sometimes we are right and there is something to stand away from and not engage with or to be more aware about how for example a business partnership or meeting may play out. Our gut instinct is a valuable skill to be developed. But what if you are sensing something else? What if the person is in emotional pain, or has some deep troubles, or fears, challenges and belief systems rumbling? In other words are you feeling them on a deeper level?
- Family can trigger us in so many places; we can be quick to jump in making assumptions and with a defensive energy. Have you looked beneath the surface of why someone may say or act the way they are? Often they are coming from a place of love and doing their best with the skills they have; are you seeing this? We are all only human.
- Many people come into our lives to shine a light on our own issues; very often what we sense from someone and the judgements that run riot in our minds are related to our very own challenges and beliefs that need turning upside down. This can feel very uncomfortable but is a place of worthwhile growth.
- Our prejudices can get in the way and we all have them.
- Are you only seeing something from your perspective? Have you tried to see the situation/ behaviour from the shoes of the person ‘bothering’ you? This is a very important skill to learn in life and will dramatically reduce how quickly you make assumptions about another person and will also open the doors to you being a far more compassionate, helpful, and understanding person.
- Why is this person or issue triggering you so much? THIS is where you go to learn more about yourself and your journey of growth. Often it is NOT about the other person so much as about yourself.
- Do you know all the facts?
- Drugs in sport seems to be coming up a lot of late; be mindful of what assumptions you make, and whom you judge: this is another person too. AND why is this bothering you so much; go there.
- We cannot control or change others; it is far better to lead by example. Do you know how awful it feels to have others make assumptions and judgements about you? Do you wish to be a judgemental person? Haven’t you better things to spend your energy on?
Sometimes the person whom we feel is being tough and unfair on us is actually the person our soul has attracted to drive us to be more, to prompt us to make a change, and even drives us to fulfil our destiny. There are times when we may feel the ones we love are the hardest on us; yet deep beneath there is a love and belief shining from them to us in the unsaid.
These unsaid words are I see you, I am holding a space and I am pushing you in ways that you cannot possibly see to be strong, to fly, to lead.
A few things to chew on!