The root of all tension in relationships
Can you think of someone in your life with whom you have some tension? It may even be uncomfortable just being in the same room as them.
Ask yourself: what is the story I am making up about what is between us?
Making assumptions is a natural response
When someone else’s behaviour does not make sense to us, we have to make up a story for it to make sense to us. But what do we base this story on? We build our made-up story on assumptions.
And what makes these assumptions so powerful is, they are all you! They are made up of the voices of your own belief systems, and are most often not based on reality.
We often find that these assumptions may make us resentful toward someone else.
“Ah, you see, he is implying that I am not a good mother.”
“You see, she is so disappointed in me.”
“Ja, they don’t want to talk to me, so I will just not talk to them either.”
“The only way for me to fix this is to go back to the person and grovel, cry and beg for forgiveness.”
Making up assumptions about other people’s behaviour is a natural response to tension. However, you know what “assume” makes, right? Assume makes an ass out of u and me.
So, what can we do when we catch ourselves making assumptions about someone else’s behaviour?
We have two choices:
We can take the easy, comfortable option and hide behind our assumptions.
We can question the assumptions.
How? Try asking the other person this:
“Listen, what you just did there didn’t make sense to me. The story I made up in my head is (insert assumption here). Am I right?”
Questioning our own assumptions will not be our natural response. It will take courage and we will have to be conscious about doing so. Even on the off chance that the assumption is accurate, it is disempowering not to engage the other person and test the assumption.
It will not always be easy, but I challenge you to notice and question your assumptions in your relationships. When you have taken the courageous step to do so, let me know how questioning those assumptions relieved the tension in your relationships.
Do you feel stuck in a cycle of assumptions and resentment? Visit getclarity.co.za to join the Clarity Quest, my couples program Get Close, or my next webinar.