Available for Interviews: Dr. Alice Fong
Alice Fong, ND, is an integrative naturopathic doctor specializing in stress, integrative medicine, diet & weight loss, and is a business growth consultant for holistic healthcare providers.
What Dr. Alice Fong can say in an interview
Assumptions are the conclusions we draw based on the information we are given and our perspective and lived experience. We often think our assumptions are true without solid proof. People tend to make assumptions about so many things and this is natural. It happens as we try to make sense of things happening around us. However, while it is natural to make assumptions, they aren’t always correct. In a lot of cases, they can cause problems as we act based on what we believe is true without having the full context or understanding of the situation.
Dealing With Our Own Assumptions
One of the agreements in Don Miguel’s book on principles to live by, The 4 Agreements is, “Don’t make assumptions.” This is easier said than done. Here are some steps we can take to avoid making assumptions about others:
- Practice Self-Awareness. Being aware of your own biases and what you believe to be true is the most important step in managing your assumptions. Self-awareness in this context of being aware that your assumptions may not always be correct or true. This will surely require a lot of practice and deliberate effort, but it will be worth it. Once you are aware of your assumptions, you will be more open to the possibility that you could be wrong, or that your interpretation may not be accurate.
- Ask Clarifying Questions. Consider you might not have the full context of the situation. Be open to asking questions and understanding the other side. Every question you ask could lead you closer to knowing why people behave the way they do and understand their real intention. For example, maybe your co-worker Susie didn’t smile at you one day when you said hello. Maybe you “assumed” she’s mad at you because you were late to the meeting yesterday, but in reality, maybe she’s sad or upset because of a conflict she had with her spouse. A simple question such as “Is everything okay?” might open up the door to understanding why Susie isn’t smiling today.
- Empathize. When your assumptions are about other people’s intention or behavior, talking to them (when you have the chance) allows you to see the behavior from their own experience, not yours. Having empathy helps show that you can understand and validate their perspective. It doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with their point of view, but you can at least get where they are coming from.
Dealing with Other People’s Assumptions
If we can make assumptions about other people, they can also make assumptions about us. So how do you deal with these assumptions about you? Remember that people will believe what they want to believe. Those who genuinely want to correct their assumptions about you will find ways to open up and start that conversation.
- Evaluate. When other people have assumptions about your behavior or your thoughts, you can either choose to take them negatively, ignore them, or do a self-evaluation to determine if it makes sense to communicate your intentions or perspective more clearly.
- Asking yourself these questions:
- What are other people’s assumptions about me?
- What was my intention?
- What were my actions?
- Were my actions in line with my intentions?
- What can I do moving forward to make my intentions clear and leave no room for interpretation as much as possible?
Don’t take it personally
Another one of Don Miguel Ruiz’s four agreements to live by is “Don’t take anything personally.” Some people are willing to challenge their negative assumptions. However, many people will only believe what they want to believe, and this is just the reality of life and being around people. In this case, it would be best not to take their assumptions personally. Dwelling on it too much can lead to unnecessary stress. Just let it go.
Interview: Dr. Alice Fong
Known as the “Virtual Stress Doc,” Alice Fong, ND, helps busy professionals break free from their stress and anxiety so that they can focus on what matters to them using a 5-step holistic approach. She is the founder and CEO of Amour de Soi Wellness, which offers one-on-one wellness programs, corporate wellness workshops, e-learning, and resilience training courses.
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