Scenario 1: You start your day at the studio all peppy and excited to take class. Your friend comes into the studio and you cheerfully welcome her and say, “Hi!”. At first, she ignores you and then weakly waves back at you without a smile or a friendly expression. You immediately assume that you did something wrong – should I not have tagged her in that picture last night, is she still upset that I got into SAB and she didn’t? So many things start running through your mind until you cannot function anymore and all your focus has transferred from barre to trying to understand what you did wrong. Soon you start getting really annoyed at your friend. Why should she be mad at you when you didn’t do anything wrong. She is so dramatic. She ruined your day.
Scenario 2: It starts the same. You wave hello to your friend who ignores it and then gives you a weak wave without a smile. You wonder what may be up with her. You are about to assume that she “hates” you for something when a little voice inside your head chimes in and asks you not to. You re-focus your energy on barre. After an amazing class you reach out to your friend to ask what is going on. She explains that her father is ill and that she did not want to come to class at all. Instead of storming out of the studio without saying hi to her, now you console her and make her feel better.
Do you see how quickly a simple assumption can change our opinion of a situation?
Why do we make assumptions? Common wisdom says that the reason is because, at any given time, we have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain. So how do we answer such questions? By making assumptions. Assumptions have become second nature to us. Guiding us through life without knowing the real truth, increasing misunderstanding and perhaps mistrust. We have conditioned our brains to think that neither is it a norm nor safe to ask your peer, or family member or whoever else why they are acting a certain way.
We must make an agreement to ourselves to ask more questions; to not be afraid of going up to your friend and clarifying whether her response was attributable to something you’ve done or a remnant of something personal.
It is vital for our minds to replace assumptions with increased communication with each other to avoid misunderstandings and mistrust. With a deeper understanding of each other and more trust, we are taking one step closer to attaining sustainable happiness.