Give yourself the opportunity to hear the heart and intent of your spouse when starting a conversation rather than assuming that they don’t have your best interest in mind. There are opportunities in every conversation for it to be collaborative or confrontational. Your assumptions can make or break effective conversations.
Henry Winkler once said, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” If you are like me, you can find yourself making assumptions easily, especially with those you love. Assumptions are simply coming to a conclusion about the other persons’ thoughts or predetermining the intent of a person based on your perception, especially when we don’t ask them if your perception is correct.
All of us have done it. We have all occasionally assumed the intent of others and allowed the negative self-talk to hinder effective dialog with our loved ones.
Here are 3 ways to avoid making assumptions with your family:
- Maintain Trust. Joyce Brothers is quoted saying, “The best proof of love is trust.” Trust must be the filter that processes every thought and situation in your relationship. If the foundation of your relationship is trust, then it will positively affect how you process the situation and reduce the likelihood of jumping to a negative conclusion with those you love.
If trust has been broken in the past by previous relationships, it is also important to make sure we don’t make the person we are currently with pay for the wounds from previous relationships. Take a moment and access the source of your feelings. Are they based on the current situation and person, or is it rooted from something in your past?
- Stay Flexible. You’ve heard it said that there are always two sides to every story. Tony Robbins is quoted putting it this way, “Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” Staying flexible in your approach simply means that you have not drawn a conclusion yet. Commit to gather as much information as possible before coming to a conclusion. Your ability to delay your position on the subject will reduce misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict.
- Discuss. Lord of the Ringsactor, Viggo Mortensen once said, “If you don’t find some way to discuss what’s going on inside you, it can come out in other ways that are self-destructive.” How true is that! You must find a way to discuss your thoughts and feelings with those around you. Not only will it allow for you to get clarity on the situation, but it will also keep you from saying or doing something based on your assumption that could be destructive to both you and your relationship.
Get together with your family today and focus on hearing and understanding without judging or jumping to conclusions.
You’ll be glad you did!