The Four Agreements: Don’t Make Assumptions

September 1st, how have we gotten here…the older I become the more I am aware of the changes of seasons. We are about to say goodbye to summer and to welcome fall. Fall has always been a time of returning to the normal routines of our lives after a summer of fun and relaxation. The question I ask myself is, “What is normal? And  will I ever feel a sense of certainty in my life again?”

What I came to learn (after I reached out to Paul K. Chappell, and we had a Zoom call with my question “What is normal?”) that there are some basic needs we all have that go beyond our physical needs which we often turn to when looking for certainty or peace. Paul calls them non-physical needs, and these needs are what we use to navigate struggle, uncertainty and crisis, which is where we have been for the last year and a half.

Paul Chappell

Paul Chappell

Paul says on his website, “Our research in Peace Literacy shows that people have many non-physical needs that are as important, if not more important, than their physical needs, especially when navigating struggle, uncertainty, and crisis. We’ve put together this series to discuss what these non-physical needs are, how people can meet them (and help others meet them) in healthy ways, how people during a crisis can become more vulnerable to tangles of trauma such as mistrust, rage, alienation, and helplessness, and how we can deal with trauma constructively rather than destructively. Each entry in this series will focus on one of humanity’s non-physical needs, along with practical ideas to help us create stronger relationships and communities.”

On Sept 19 I will be starting a new series using the nine non-physical needs that Paul outlines called “Leadership for Navigating Struggle, Uncertainty, and Crisis.” The non-physical needs are purpose and meaning, nurturing relationships, explanations, expression, inspiration, belonging, self-worth, challenge, and transcendence.

This past Sunday was the third agreement from the book The Four Agreements: Don’t Make Assumptions.

“We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking — we take it personally — then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. That is why whenever we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.” — Don Miguel Ruiz

Thoughts to ponder from this week’s message:

Can you think of a time in your life where you made an assumption about a situation?

• Did you believe it to be the truth?
• Did you find out that it was not as you had assumed it to be?

How do you keep yourself from making assumptions?

• Make sure the communication is clear.
• Have the courage to ask questions until you are clear.
• Do not assume you know all there is about a given situation.

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” — Matthew 7:1-2

Can you see how making assumptions is a way that we use to judge?

• Whenever we make an assumption about something without having the facts, it is in reality making a judgment.

Join me this Sunday, September 5, for the final agreement: Always Do Your Best.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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