Do Any of These Assumptions Add To Your Anxiety?

Much of our anxiety rests on assumptions that we have made. We assume the worst possible scenario will come true. We assume we know what others think of us, and that we have expressed ourselves clearly but others simply do not “get” us.

Avoiding assumptions is not a cure for anxiety, but it can help us manage our symptoms and alleviate at some of the anxiety we experience.

The first step is to become aware of. For those of us with an assumption habit, it is necessary to become mindful of when we are making them.

The second step is to cut it out. This turns out to be more difficult than it would seem for it is easier to make assumptions than to create clarity. Clarity requires effort and increased communication. For some people, this will necessitate acquiring better communication skills.

"If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.” ~ Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements


Four Assumptions to Watch Out For

Observe your thoughts and become aware of making these kinds of assumptions:

Assuming the worst. This is probably the most obvious assumption that many of us make. If you are a worrier or prone to anxiety you will naturally think about the worst case scenario, just do not assume it will come true. The best antidote for this kind of assumption is to take action, to do whatever you can to acquire more information or make the result you hope for likelier.

Assuming we know what someone thinks of us. There are always going to be people who do not care for us, no matter what we do or say. However, most of the time what we assume another thinks of us is really what we think of ourselves. One way to counter this assumption is to forget about who likes who and treat others, and our self, with respect.

Assuming we are right, or wrong. Opinions are not facts. Assuming our own opinions are correct or wrong is to misunderstand what opinions are. They are subjectively based perceptions, personal biases based on our cultural and family history, our education, experiences, and environment. They are not meant to be right or wrong. The same can be said for feelings. Our feelings are always true to our subjective experience or view, but may not reflect the facts of a situation.

Assuming others know what we need. How lovely it would be if others knew our needs and always met them. The reality is if people do not understand what we need it is that we have not communicated it to them. Most of the time, getting what we want or need requires persistent, accurate communication. We must let others know exactly what we expect, and ask for what we want.

“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama . . . you can completely transform your life.” ~ Miguel Ruiz

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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