Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Third Agreement – Don’t Make Assumptions

Don Miguel Ruiz’s Third Agreement is “Don’t Make Assumptions”. Arguments, fear, misunderstanding often flow from the fact that we assume that we know what other people are feeling.

It takes courage to truly express what you are feeling and to ask questions to clarify things that matter. For me this is a difficult agreement to keep but potentially has the greater capacity to actually change my actions than either the first or second agreements.

I am someone who has run from conflict all my life, or at least as long as I can remember and this stems back to events in my childhood that had a profound effect on the way I have lived my life. There was no physical abuse and no intentional emotional abuse but there were events that lead me to withdraw and taught me that it was better to walk away from conflict than to face it head on.

So I learnt that asking questions to clarify things was probably a sure way to be hurt or to hurt other people and unknowingly it meant I spent my childhood as a loner. Something I have carried with me to this day in many ways. Had I learnt early on to ask questions and not assume that I knew what others were thinking I believe I would have grown up to be a very different person.

This is an empowering agreement and one I need to learn how to express.

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