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
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