I’m not a mind reader, are you?
One thing I learned about myself is I have a really bad habit of thinking that either other people or I, am a mind reader. For instance, people should know when I’m bothered by something because it’s obvious right?!? Wrong! Or ever further, I assume someone feels a certain way because that’s what I think.
First off, no one is a mind reader, even if they are super perceptive. It’s not fair to other people to make assumptions on what they know or what you expect them to know. You aren’t giving the other person a fair chance if you don’t at least address the issue and give them the opportunity to resolve it. Now if instead, you communicate how you feel and they don’t do anything to address the issue than shame on them. But getting upset at them for something they may not know about or fully understand – well that helps no one. Half the time I feel like when I bring up issues or questions, that it’s easily resolved with communication or a good conversation.
Many times in life there are misconceptions or decisions made without all the facts. For instance, my boyfriend couldn’t make it to a special event I wanted us to go to because he had to work. Normally he can switch his schedule to make it work, but this time he wasn’t. So I assumed he just didn’t want to go, and then I started thinking of all the reasons why he wouldn’t want to go. I was upset he couldn’t go, but I also became upset that he didn’t try to make it work. So I finally took my own advice and I asked him about it. He had secretly tried to switch his shift to try and surprise me, but he couldn’t find someone to switch with him. First off, I’m not a mind reader – how should I know he actually did try. Second off, shame on me for getting upset about something before I knew it was a fact. Also for letting my imagination run wild of all the reasons he didn’t want to come. I should give him the benefit of the doubt rather than the negative of the doubt.
I also learned to not let things fester. Not talking about things that bother me, or upset me, or even that I don’t understand – well it normally becomes a larger issue, or resentment sets in rather than addressing it. It might be a topic that’s hard to talk about or you’re worried about the outcome – but nine times out of ten communicating calmly, and respectfully talking about things makes things better. I used to try to avoid conflict, but avoiding the person, or subject, until enough time had passed that I didn’t feel so upset or angry. I soon learned that carrying around the weight of unresolved feelings, and holding things in, just ended up with a big volcano explosion in a unproductive way. This was usually when things came out wrong and I hurt people I love with my words that I couldn’t take back.
One of the greatest tools I learned from my therapist was self awareness. I became aware that I jump to conclusions. I also became aware that I react to things people say, do or don’t do without asking questions to better understand. Now when I catch myself falling into old habits, I stop and consciously make an effort to change my natural behavior – I decide to investigate so that I have the full story to react to. It takes work to change patterns of behavior that have been ingrained in me for so long.
Voice of a Phoenix