If this was a test, I'd be getting a really high grade on this wrong thought pattern stuff!
Here's what author Poinsetl has to say about Jumping To Conclusions: "When Judy and I were team teachers for a class of single young adults...the class had a visitor one Sunday morning when I wasn't there. The visitor possessed a good rasp of the Bible and was outspoken. She and Judy clashed over a minor point. When the visitor never returned, Judy said, "I shouldn't have disagreed with her. I know that's why she didn't come back. I came on too strong."
"Why don't you give her a call and see?" I said.
Judy did, and the young woman was not bothered by the difference of opinion at all. She said, "I never returned because I felt too old for the class."
So jumping to conclusions is when we make decisions based on our own understanding, which is not a good idea, as expressed in a very famous verse in the Bible (Proverbs 3: 5-6). We women especially tend to do this when it comes to men. We see something they do or hear something they say, and derive a major meaning from it that likely did not even cross their minds.
"The way he was looking at me, I know he was thinking ______________!"
"I asked him what he was thinking and he said 'nothing.' He just won't tell me. He must be angry with me."
"He is hiding behind that newspaper again. He's deliberately refusing to talk to me about ____________."
We also do this with other women. We get our feelings hurt of something someone did or said that assume meant something hurtful. People have lived for years carrying grudges or hurts about something the other person doesn't even remember!
I am amazed at the different way my husband thinks. So much so that I've learned to go to him when I'm starting to jump to a conclusion about something. Most of the time he'll tell me that no, that's not what he or that other person was communicating. Or, if it's unclear, he will very simply suggest that I ask the person about it.
Gracious sakes, is he kidding?!! No, he's not.
At first, this was asking more courage of me than I had. But then I tried it once, resolved something that would have eaten away at me, and realized wow, this is a great idea!
You'd think I'd be clued in on this whole thing after living in different countries. For example, in Indonesia it is not polite to ask someone to pass something at the dinner table--that's impolite because you're stopping them from enjoying their meal. Rather, it's polite to reach across them and get the thing yourself, so as not to bother them.
I guess I just forget that even though I'm in my home country and life feels normal here, that doesn't mean everyone thinks and acts like I do (duh).
So this jumping to conclusions thing can be something really important (She didn't ask me to be a bridesmaid--she doesn't value our friendship as much as I do.), or something simple (I sent in an article once and didn't hear back. I assumed the editor didn't like it. After a year, though, I decided just to check and found out the editor had wondered why I hadn't sent it--she had never gotten it! I got paid and the article got published, and my fear that the particular editor didn't like my work was put to rest.)
Since then, I still don't find it easy to check about the truth of things, but I am finding it easier not to assume I know exactly what's going on in other people's minds.
Good grief, its' hard enough keeping track of what's going on in mine!