Words of War
As a therapist, I am well versed on concepts like the self-fulfilling prophecy (see The Pygmalion Effect and Golem Effect). For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically when someone says something untrue about someone (or a group of someones), then due to the power of influence, that prediction comes true.
A common example is a child who grows up hearing they are stupid, incapable, etc. While this is not true, the fact that the child has been exposed to others who say or believe this to be true influences how the child feels about him- or herself. Eventually, the child begins acting as if the words were true, thereby fulfilling the ‘prophecy.’
Or, take a spouse who leans toward the suspicious side and who is always accusing his or her partner of cheating. The innocent spouse may eventually tire of the false accusations and begin to think, “Well, if I’m going to be accused of it, I might as well do it!”
We can see this played out in a variety of life situations- both in the negative and positive realms. If your boss tells you that you are a high performer and a great leader, you are going to perform and lead better. You get the idea.
My concern, and reason for bringing this up, is the current state of society. With all the mud-slinging and name calling going on (on both sides of the political fence), I’m afraid that both sides will engage in a form of self-fulfilling prophesy, albeit in a tit-for-tat, escalating manner. Now, if you stop and think for a minute, if all of the awful stereotypes were to actually come true for both sides, we would all be in some serious trouble.
What can be done? We all need to take individual responsibility to 1) not promote gossip, hate or malice (ignore when possible), 2) spread kindness and love any chance we get and 3) pray for wisdom.
If we speak positive words into others - to calm fears, to promote unity- we can turn this budding race war around. We can be a catalyst for positive change. It just takes a little self-fulling prophecy in action.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)
Photo credit: http://www.livinggraceomaha.org
My Lips Are Sealed
People ask me if I can keep a confidence. I laugh. There are things I’ve kept secret for years. YEARS. Admittedly, not because I so cherish the person who is being protected by my sealed lips. I am keeping confidences of people who have hurt me; whose secrets have personally affected me. I am even keeping the confidence of some who have lied to purposefully tarnish my name or reputation. And I hold that confidence even when, at times, I think it might feel good to just get some of their junk off my chest (you know, to even the score).
Yep... I keep my mouth shut… but not because of them. Or me. Or the greater good. Not even because it’s part of my professional training and ethics. I do so because of Him. Yes, HIM. I know one day, when my faith becomes my sight, and I am beholding my Savior, Face to face, I will give an account for everything I have said or done.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows I have plenty to account for already: things I did before I knew better… things I did when I knew better but was too hurt or broken or selfish to do the right thing… and things I still do that, in my ignorance, I may not even know are wrong.
Point is, we all have to make these choices. Where is my integrity? Who am I? Whose am I? And what will I say when I meet Him Face to face?
The one who guards his words guards his life, but whoever is talkative will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)
Photo credit: Google images
Acceptance & Freedom
There was a time when I cared what ‘everyone’ thought about me. I tried very hard to please people; to be good; to be liked. What that got me was a whole lot of heartache: Cheating. Lying. Backstabbing. Betrayal.
In my effort to gain acceptance, I lost everything. I was rejected.
And it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Now, of course, I can only say this with that 20/20 hindsight thing. As C.S. Lewis has said, we don’t know we are maturing during the process, but only after it has happened (I’m paraphrasing, bear with me). This might be because the “during the process” is distractingly painful. It’s also hard work.
The time I spent in solitude, grappling with themes of loyalty, integrity, friendship and love; questioning God, fairness and justice, led me to a quiet place of peaceful independence. Note: not giving-you- the-middle-finger independence, not looking-out-for-number-one independence. Rather, a healthy detachment from the approval of others independence.
In a word: Freedom.
The relationships I lost were a result of truth unfolding. A person cannot betray unless the seeds of betrayal are already planted in their heart. A person cannot live out that which is untrue for them.
Seeing another’s truth is freedom. It may be a painful (at first) freedom, but it is freedom, nonetheless.
And not only was their truth liberating, my truth was liberating, as well. When I realized that the opinion of others had somehow been more valuable to me than the condition or safety of my heart; more valuable than the opinion of God, I took my first step toward healing. It wasn’t until then, in the rubble and ashes of my life, that I saw the first sprout- the first sign- of new life.
In short, I had to be completely broken to be completely set free. And that is a very beautiful thing.
So if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. (John 8:36)
Photo credit: starry_eyedkid
pain of betrayal, finding myself, when friends betray, starting over, acceptance after loss, acceptance and pain
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog