self-fulfilled prophecy and other stories….

we live out what we believe about ourselves to be true.

a few years ago i went through some counseling. and something that my counselor at the time stuck with me ever since. i am re-rendering what he said, but the gist of it was ‘you live the life that you want to live’. it was so true though. i mean, how we see the world, how we were treated as children, how we were taught to interact with the world around us, all these things and more effect how we do what we do. they also have a hand in how we turn out, but the danger is that we become the victims of our past or even our past choices. and the problem with that is that in reality is, were not always the victim. i was talking with a friend yesterday about life experiences and how they shape us. and the phrase ‘self-fulfilled propechy (sfp)’ came up. its a powerful tool for self-awareness. the idea behind sfp is that we live out what we expect. let me give you an example. if you have to talk to your roommate about how loud her music is and you are a person who hates confrontation already, then the danger is that you become what you expect. so in your head you’ve already played out the scenario and how its going to end, and in your daydream it doesn’t end well. and so what you have already done in thinking out the process in such minute detail is you have created a situation that may have never happened. your body tenses. your blood begins to rush. your mind goes on overkill through all the possible outcomes and how you might even defend yourself. the chemicals are in control and from that point on, you are not. and so you walk into this, what might just be a conversation to your roommate, expecting world war three but ends up being quite peaceful and you come to an amicable consensus on the issue. or because you have already set yourself up to go in with guns blazing, then people end up getting hurt. and the casualties are too much to bear.

so how do you deal with this? what do you do to deal with these kinds of issues that come out of SFP? i think first and foremost is to realize its’ not going to be world war three. second of all, i think we have to come to realize that all people on this earth are in some way shape or from afraid of some sort of rejection. and that that makes the conversation always equal, not a one-up – who can be the best at arguing escapade. and also that at the core of things like SFP is the fear of rejection. and if you think of SFP like a wall, the only way over a wall is through. so, yep, you’ve guessed it — put yourself in the line of fire. find some close friends and purposefully (not aggressively) share your views on a issue that you might differ on that you haven’t done before, or try something you would naturally be afraid of (within reason) at your own pace. but to overcome this kind of thinking also inserts a new worldview for those who struggle with SFP — the world can be different and that is okay. you don’t have to be in control. you don’t always have to be right. others can add value too. and i think this is a good start. a good place to begin is with the desire to change and challenge ourselves to grow. once we decide not to, is the moment that we accept the SFP that nothing will ever change. and things are changing every-day, including us, whether we like it or not.


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