Generous Assumptions

What is the most generous assumption I can make?
(and still acknowledge my feelings)

There is a fabulous book called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Rusiz ( If you haven’t read it, do so!) It’s basically stating that if you follow the “four agreements”, you will have less conflict in your life.

One of the agreements that has always stuck with me is “Make No Assumptions”.

It seems virtually impossible for me to follow that agreement. And I think, we often HAVE to make assumptions to get by in the world we live in. For example, if you know it takes 1/2 hour to drive to a certain place, you can “assume” today will be the same. If you made an appointment with someone at 1pm, you can assume they’ll show up. If you had to second guess all your assumptions you’d be exhausted by 9am!

But some of our assumptions, mainly our assumptions about other people, can be harmful and counter productive.

Think back to a time in the past week or so, when you had a disagreement with someone that left you feeling bad afterwards. Maybe you felt judged, belittled, embarrassed, hurt… Take a moment now to see if you can recall what your thoughts were at that time.

“He thinks I’m stupid”, “She thinks she’s better than me”, “He doesn’t care about me”, “She’s only in it for herself”…etc,etc,etc. Just notice the thoughts.

Now, ask yourself if you can, for certain, know that your thoughts are true.

Usually when our buttons get pushed, we are diving deep into a swarm of thoughts that have little truth and even less relevance to the situation at hand.

But, how can you stop the story once it’s started?

By interrupting it.

Go back to the situation you recalled. You noticed your thoughts. Now, acknowledge your feelings (hurt, angry, etc). But, ask yourself “What is the most generous assumption I can make right now?”

Assuming “she’s only in it for herself” probably isn’t the most generous assumption you could make. What else “could” be going on?

Can you know for certain “he thinks you’re stupid”? What’s a different assumption you could make.

Making a generous assumption doesn’t mean you let people get away with behaving badly or that you stop setting boundaries. Making a generous assumption helps YOU behave in a better way for YOU. It helps you side step your old beliefs and allows space for your mind to come up with a solution rather than an attack.

And yes, you have to practice asking yourself this question until it becomes automatic. Then, when a real conflict occurs, this question will be your first thought rather than your previous knee jerk reactions. But as I always say, have fun practicing it.

When someone blows the stop sign…”what is the most generous assumption I can make right now?” Sure, they may be a self- centered jerk, or, maybe they just didn’t see the sign…

When your client is late…”what is the most generous assumption I can make right now?” Well, they might have no respect for you or your time, or maybe they had an issue with traffic or an unforeseen emergency at home.

When someone cuts ahead of you in line, “What is the most generous assumption I can make right now?” They might be totally unconscious and selfish, but maybe they just didn’t see you.

By asking this question, you are not negating the possibility that they are unconscious, selfish, etc. But you are creating the possibility that a slightly less harsh belief could also be true. And that will likely help you react in a less confrontational way.

Then when bigger things happen like your friend or partner or boss snaps at you…”what is the most generous assumption I can make right now?” will be a natural thought before you respond.

Start practicing today and let me know how it goes! And I think everyone should pass this on to someone they know because we could ALL make more generous assumptions about each other, right?

Is this Thought Helpful?

Is this Thought Helpful?

(even if it might be true?)

“I’m fat”, “I’m incompetent”, “I’m a failure”, “I’m too old”, “I’m too young”, “I’m boring”, “I’m a loser”, “I can’t handle this”…does any of this sound familiar?

Most of us have some pretty nasty self talk. And usually there is a fairly lengthy story attached to these thoughts as well. We all have a very well defined belief system promoting the notion that these nasty thoughts are absolute fact.

Regardless of whether they are true or not, are these thoughts helpful? Do they propel you forward and inspire you to take actions to improve your situation?

I doubt it. More likely, they stop you in your tracks and lead you to do more of what already makes you feel bad.

If the thoughts help? By all means, keep them. But for most of us, thoughts like these do not help at all.
But, we’re often too caught up in these thoughts to stop the story in our heads.

Simply questioning if these thoughts are true, won’t make them be less harmful. And actually getting rid of them is next to impossible, though doable over time. So, what can we do RIGHT NOW to take action in the face of these thoughts?

Ask… “Is this thought helpful?” If no, then, add a few words… “I’m noticing I’m thinking___”

“I’m a loser” = “I’m noticing that I’m thinking I’m a loser”.

Chew on that for a minute. Do you notice that there is a slight separation between you and the thought?

Write out your own nasty self talk…the whole hideous story. Pick the thought that is the nastiest. Ask yourself, “is that thought helpful?” Then, add the “I’m noticing I’m thinking___” in front of it. Does it have less of a hold on you? Maybe it’s not quite as ‘personal’ as it was before?

Practice this through out the day as these thoughts pop into your head. Start to “notice” your self talk and question if it’s helpful. Remember, the self talk will not likely go away, but you don’t have to connect with it…just notice it. And ask, is this thought helpful?

Set the kind of Goals that Move You Forward

What do you Want and Why? “CHANGE IS NEVER A MATTER OF ABILITY. IT IS ALWAYS A MATTER OF MOTIVATION” -Tony Robbins Why do you want what you want? That’s the most important question you can ask yourself when you are looking to change something be it a bad habit, a relationship, your career…”why?”. Why do you want it to be different? Here’s the trap…a lot of us will answer with “because I don’t want to feel ___ anymore”. In most cases, that answer pretty much insures that the change you want won’t happen. Our brains are hard wired to “go towards things”. Particularly, things that make us feel GOOD. That’s pretty obvious, I know. But if you want to change something, you have to focus on how you WANT to feel when you have achieved that change, rather than focus on what you don’t want. For example: “I want to lose weight.” Why? “Because I hate the way my body feels in my clothes”…is the trap. Instead maybe you can answer: “Because I want to feel fabulous and confident in my clothes, I want to have more energy”…etc Another example: “I want to earn more money” Why? “Because I’m sick of living paycheck to paycheck”…is the trap. Instead, maybe you answer: “Because I want to take a vacation, get my car cleaned, go out with my friends”…etc Another example: “I want to get a better job.” Why? “Because my boss is an asshole and my life is being flushed down the toilet”…you can clearly see the trap there! Another answer? “I want to tap into my natural talents at work, I want my work to be fulfilling and soul affirming”…etc You get the point. You have to phrase your desires in “moving towards” language. And then, focus on THAT rather than focusing on what you DON’T want to feel. Focussing on what you WANT moves you forward and brings you closer to actually getting it. It also elicits the energy required to receive that which you want. This is not new age “woo hoo”, it’s basic physics. Low vibrational energy attracts low vibrational energy. And, high vibrational energy attracts high vibrational energy. So, focusing on what’s wrong, what’s not working…low energy thoughts…will attract more of that energy. The same is true for higher energy thoughts. Thoughts of enthusiasm, gratitude, and vitality attract more of those high energy vibrations. The old saying “ What you focus on, expands” is not self help jargon. It’s a law of physics. And if I was breaking a habit or embarking on a new career, I’d be harnessing all the high energy I could, and get the law of physics on MY side. And by reframing your goals from “moving away from” (low energy) to “moving towards goals” (high energy), you can effectively get the energetic world on your side. Which leads to: better results more efficiently and with greater ease. Brigitta (feel free to forward this to your friends!)