What is mind reading? Mind reading is simply making an assumption about someone who has hurt or disappointed us without confirming it.
When we do this we believe a lie about this person in our heads.
This assumption is a misrepresentation of reality because we have not checked it out with the other person. It is very possible that we are believing something untrue.
It is also likely that we will pass our false assumptions around to others.
Acting on assumptions, without checking them out, is a common source of confusion and conflict in relationships. Often we are unaware of the havoc it creates in marriages, schools, families and workplaces.
How to stop mind reading
In order to stop mind reading we must clarify what the other person is thinking rather than assuming that you know.
Here are some important steps that we can implement:
1. Reflect on something you suspect the other person thinks or feels but they haven’t told you.
Example: “I think that Joe is mad at me because he was short with me the last time we talked.”
2. Ask: “Do I have your permission to read your mind? or “Can I check out an assumption with you?”
Example: “Joe, may I check out an assumption with you? ”
3. When permission is granted, ask:
“I noticed that you were very short with me that last time we talked. That’s unusual for you, so I’m wondering if you are upset with me? Is that true?”
“I think that you think . . . [fill in the blank]. Is that true?”
4. Give the other person an opportunity to respond.
Example: “No, I am not upset with you. My wife’s father was rushed to the hospital a few days ago so we have been spending all our free time with him there. I haven’t had the opportunity to respond to any of my phone messages yet.”
Are you guilty of mind reading? What do you do when you realize this?
***** We learned this skill at the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Conference that was led by Pete and Geri Scazzero.