One of the four principles Don Miguel Ruiz writes about is “never assume, always ask.” Many of us don’t ask questions because we think it will make us sound stupid. But, according to Ruiz, asking questions “prevents miscommunication, doubt, mistrust, and conflict in relationships.” So…
Questions are never stupid
Have you ever heard the saying “the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask?”
Well, that is really true. Here at the farm, not asking questions can lead to all sorts of trouble. For example, someone did not ask where to turn a particular horse out. They were afraid asking would make them look dumb. So, they looked at the pastures, chose the nearest one, and let the horse out. In a few minutes, we heard an awful commotion. Two horses were fighting. Yep, one of them was the one just turned out in that pasture. Seems that it did not get along with one of the horses in that pasture. That is why the two horses were kept in different pastures. Talk about feeling dumb. Asking the question, “where does this horse go” would have been a much smarter choice, don’t you think?
Assumptions are really a mirror into how we feel about ourselves
Ok, so questions are not stupid. But, what is an assumption? An assumption is an opinion we form about a particular situation, an issue, and/or persons.
According to Ruiz, “Assumptions are based on our past experiences; we subconsciously project our past experiences onto the particular issue. We often jump to conclusions based on our assumptions and inevitably it leads to an emotional drama of some sort. The emotional tug of war can be with another person, it can be with ourselves and our mind. The emotional tug of war can be draining and at times it can ruin relationships and it can create disagreements and ill feelings between people.”
Why do we fall into that trap? Because assumptions are reflections of the way we view ourselves. If someone does not call us back after we make a phone call to them, we may ASSUME that they do not want to talk to us because we are not worth talking to. This assumption is actually a form of self-rejection. When we assume that the reason someone acted in a particular way was that they wanted to hurt us, or they wanted to attack us, or they wanted to have some form of control over us, it is REALLY a mirror of how we feel about ourselves. We need to look at ourselves honestly and see—how do we view ourselves? Are we insecure about certain things?
ANALYZING SELF-JUDGEMENT EXERCISE
Think of how many judgments you make of yourself in a day. Now take it a step further—how many judgments do you make of others based on their speech, their dress style, their background, etc.
1) How many times did you judge yourself today? Circle the nearest number.
5 10 15 20
2) Think about the first time you met friends of yours. What was your impression? Was it positive/negative?
Positive? ________________ Negative? ________________
3) Think about how you walk by someone at school every day. Not once do you say hello to them because of whatever issues there may be. But, the one day you do have a conversation, you’re amazed to see how much you have in common. Or, you were surprised that you made a friend.
Who was that person?____________________
What did I see when I looked at them first? _______________________
What did I see when I got to know them? _________________________
CHARACTER SKETCH – JOURNALING TOOL
A great journaling tool that I like to use to clear out assumptions is something called a character sketch. A character sketch is a written description of another person or a part of yourself. If you were to write a character sketch of yourself, what would be included in it? I would advise you to give twenty minutes to this writing exercise because it takes time to write about it. If you’re doing a character sketch about someone other than yourself, imagine yourself being that person or yourself being that issue or emotion and write it from that point of view. It’s a good opportunity to tune into your projections about the other person as well as assumptions you may be making.
Character sketch of yourself:
What do I look like? (Tall, short, thin, not thin, hair color, etc.) ____________________________________________________________________________________
How does my voice sound? ______________________________________________________
How do I dress? __________________________________________________________________
Am I kind, mean, shy, outgoing, bossy, a leader, a follower? _____________________________________________________________________________________
What do others see when they look at me? _____________________________________________________________________________________
The next time you feel a specific feeling about something, do a check-in with yourself and instead of assuming, ask a question, clarify your doubt and you’ll feel a lighter sense of being.
Remember, no question can ever be a dumb question!
Using the color of emotions wheel, color in yourself. Remember, no one is just one emotion. We all feel very different things. Color in large sections of yourself for emotions you feel often. Use smaller sections for those emotions you feel less often. Have fun!