The Self-Fulfilling ProphecyFebruary 16, 2017
Written by: Thumper Pedarus
I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a little while now. So please bare with me as I do my best to explain it through text rather than through my usual live Facebook videos!
Imagine for a moment that you are at a get together, or a bar, or a club, and you see someone who’s just your type. They look like they’re approachable, they’re very attractive, and you want to strike up a conversation. So you cozy on up to this person (am I doing this right?) and you ask them how they’re doing.
They’re response? “Fine thanks.”
So you try again. “What brings you here tonight?”
“I just wanted to get out.”
“Well…I do think you’re really cute so I kinda thought we could chat a little…”
“Oh I’m not that cute…”
By this time, most of you would’ve given up. I mean, I certainly would have. I want to get some sort of interaction in return when I’m trying to flirt. Even if it’s just some giggles because I’m really REALLY bad at flirting…
But now, just think for a moment about this other person’s perspective. Imagine you are that person. You decided to get out of the house because you’re going stir crazy. And it took a lot of convincing yourself to go out because all you can hear in the back of your head is, “Nobody likes you…you’re not attractive like those other guys…you’re gonna mess this up…”
So the result? You actually end up creating what you feared would happen! If you didn’t have that negative self-talk, you may have been more inclined to talk more about yourself, to accept a compliment, to open up about what took you there in the first place!
This is called the self-fulfilling prophecy. Basically, it’s the human tendency for us to make happen what we really DON’T want to happen. And I see it a lot in the puppy community.
Which is why I really wanted to reach out to you today.
This is something that I used to struggle with a lot. When I was growing up, I thought that I would always be the shy kid. I had a very small group of friends and that was good for me. Until I started noticing all the times where I’d be sitting by myself at lunch, or at my volunteer job. I would look around the room thinking to myself, “What’s wrong with me?”
Well, there wasn’t anything wrong with me. My guess is that I came off shy and people didn’t know how to approach me. And because I was so shy I just lacked the necessary social skills to make new friends!
After one particularly lonely day, I told myself I was going to pretend to not be shy anymore. It worked! I bet for those of you who know me, none of you would even think that I’m shy! But shy Thumper is still in there in the background. But I pushed myself to learn and grow, and move beyond my negative self-talk by actually pretending it wasn’t there at all. It made a huge difference.
Now, am I suggesting you go out and pretend to be something you’re not? Not exactly. What I am suggesting is going out and building skills through trial and error. Rather than being the shy kid on the bar stool, go talk to someone and learn how to have a conversation. Instead of sitting on your computer staring at other people having fun, give organizing a get-together a go. There is life outside the Internet and lots of people to share it with!
There will be down times. And there will be up times. The important thing is to be kind to yourself when you’re feeling really down. A lot of that negative self-talk is something that isn’t easily stopped. Sometimes it takes the skilled work of a therapist to break through those long-held beliefs and barriers. I know exactly what that feels like, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I still go to therapy.
So the next time that you’re out and about, or you’re simply at home, be very careful what it is that you tell yourself. You may end up making what you don’t want to happen, happen!