Am I Sure?

are you sure thich nhat hanh calligraphy

We often jump to conclusions—at work, at home, with our family and friends, or even with people we walk by on the street or encounter at the supermarket.  We all have our own sensitivities and shadows that we’ve accumulated over the years. And these sensitivities and shadows can lead our minds to leap to a conjecture that is just plain wrong. Some examples:

  • Your supervisor is brusque with you at work; do you jump to the conclusion that she is dissatisfied with your performance—and then lie awake at night fretting about it for hours? Is it instead possible that your supervisor was just distracted, fatigued, or hungry?
  • A man cuts ahead of you in the checkout line; do you become silently outraged at his rudeness? Or do you allow for the possibility that he simply did not see you waiting?
  • Your spouse snaps at you when you ask for help with housework. You get upset, thinking that they don’t value your contributions in the home, and you remain standoffish for the rest of the night. Is it instead possible that your spouse was stressed out because of work?

Next time you experience these unpleasant emotions and this unease, pause, take a few breaths and ask yourself this question:  Am I sure?

Asking this simple question:  Am I sure? wakes us up.  It helps us to be more in touch with our reality, and leave behind pre-conceived notions.  Asking this question can prevent our spirits from spiraling down into anxiety, fear, anger, and insomnia.  This is mindfulness at work.