A Practice when You're Jumping to Conclusions

When we jump to conclusions about a situation, anxiety takes over and we make assumptions.In the past, trying to gain control of a vulnerable situation and “figuring out” how someone else feels about us in a situation may have caused us to stay safe and receive the love, care and praise we needed as a child from caretakers and authority figures who may have unintentionally made receiving these necessities conditional. Today, as adults, we can choose to draw that power back to ourselves. It is entirely possible that our assumptions we are making in a situation are not true. It is also true that we don’t need to be overly-responsible for how other adults are perceiving or receiving us any longer. Adults are mutually responsible for their own integrity, communication skills and empathy in cases of miscommunication. It is considered a cognitive distortion to jump to conclusions. Jumping to conclusions causes people to misunderstand different situations, which can affect their self-esteem and ability to relate to others. It can also hold someone back from making important life decisions and doing things that could be good for them. Because of this, it is important to start by being aware when you are falling into this pattern, the anxiety it causes and that, although these thoughts may be there, we don’t have to fuel them by following or believing them. Simply notice they are there and imagine treating yourself like a best friend in this situation or a beloved child whois spinning out. How would you respond to them? It’s time to do that for yourself.

Drop into these reflection questions in your journal when you notice you’re jumping to conclusions or you mind is spinning with anxiety about a situation. These questions will help you move the energy from looping in your mind, giving it an outlet and helping you reclaim your center, power and a wider view of what happened/is happening.Start by taking some deep breaths or doing guided meditation for a few minutes. You may enjoy this7 minute Quick Calm Guided Meditation before journaling. 1. Describe the situation in which you jumped to a conclusion. 2. Did you assume what someone was going to do, say, or feel? 3. Did you act out or feel hurt based on the conclusions you drew (toward another or yourself)? 4. When you drew conclusions, did you know all the information? If not, what did you learn later if anything? 5. If you did not jump to a conclusion, how would things have gone differently? 6. What are some alternatives possibilities rather than the predominant conclusion you’re focused on? 7. What would you tell a young child who is feeling this way? Write it out and then read it to yourself. Notice how you feel after reflecting on this situation. Each time you jump to conclusion, remember what you’ve learned here and draw that power back from leaking out of you. You are safe and resourced at this time!

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