I used to think my mother had super powers because she would always be two steps ahead of me – especially when I was about to do something I had no business doing. As I grew older, I realized that she didn’t have any superhuman ability, but knew me well enough to anticipate my moves. A lot of her intuition came from her own experiences growing up – she was able to think like me. That may work for child rearing, but it doesn’t have the same success in relationships.
One of my sister-friends is consistently self-sabotaging her relationships by allowing her mind and imagination to get the best of her. One of The Four Agreements is, “Don’t Make Assumptions,” and despite having read it, she forgets that one when it comes to the guys she dates. Case in point: Two weeks ago she found herself ready to break up with the guy she is dating because of a false assumption she’d made about his behavior.
I don’t believe that men are from Mars or that women are from Venus, but there are some fundamental differences between the way men and women think. I attribute this mostly to the way we are socialized, but some of it is nature too. Thus, relationships tend to encounter conflict when one person puts their thoughts into the other’s head.
My sister-friend thought the guy was seeing someone else because he’d been acting “secretive.” With no other basis for this, she had made it up in her mind that his behavior could mean only one thing: She didn’t even ask him about it before she’d resigned herself to end it. Well, not only was her paranoia misguided, but he had also been planning a surprise for her. Imagine, how small she felt when she discovered the real reason for his behavior.
That, however, is just one example, but we have all been guilty of it. You know, making assumptions about behavior based on what is going in our own heads. The same is true for friendships. We can’t expect people to act or think like we do. We must meet our partners and friends where they are, not where we want them to be.
The best way to get clarity on the cause of someone’s behavior or what they are thinking about a situation or your relationship is to ask them. It certainly doesn’t do anyone any good to develop scenarios based on your thoughts. So, take a pause, and ask, “Am I putting my thoughts in his head?”
Wishing you LOVE & CEASLESS JOY!
Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.