May 23, 2015
I am thinking about “self-fulfilling prophecies” and how people want things to go a certain way. I remember a friend who consistently described me as “brooding” and a “loveable misanthrope”. (At that time, I found this affectionate and cute. Now, leaning toward condescending and insulting.) My relationship with that friend ended — painfully — because I would always brood in her midst and be affectionate one moment but unhappy with doses of cynicism and bitterness the next. Maybe, I found that to be the case because I was “allowed” to act that way.
For example, imagine you have a friend who constantly describes you as happy-go-lucky. How will behave around that friend? You will always be happy and pleasant because it is not only an expectation but because the presence of that friend and their confidence in your happiness will allow you the permission to be happy. Its why happy people attract other happy people and misery loves company.
None of this is earth shattering.
The rub lies in the frequency and power of self-fulfilling prophecies. So many times we use self-fulfilling prophecies and inevitability set ourselves up for failure. How often have you had a friend say, “This movie is going to suck” or “this party is awkward” or “this project will never work.” (By the way, what a bummer of a friend!) Of course, the movie/party/project is going to fail, you never gave it a chance. If you refuse the possibility of happiness, then of course there will be no happiness there.
I have always found self-fulfilling prophecies to be incredibly powerful.
Of course, the most powerful self-fulfilling prophecy in my life was one I made about my own life…
I was driving my brand new car with the girl I was dating at the time. This girl and I were, it seemed at the time, perfect together. She was moving away and we both knew the relationship was going to end, but, in the throes of love and passion I made a series of bold declarations. Essentially, I told her, she was perfect for me, the most special person I had ever met, I told her I wished I had never had met her because then I would never have known how cool and funny one person could be. I told her that while I might get married and move on, there would be no one more her for me.
Those words haunt me.
That relationship ended in a hail of FUCK YOUs and hurt feelings. Now, I can not take those words back, but that is a horrible prophecy — one I hope to avoid. That was not a declaration of love and affection; it was a prophecy of disappointment and despair. I was mortgaging any and all future loves just to say some nice things to some one at the moment. In addition, I placed a supernatural burden of being THE ONE and PERFECT FOR ME on a human being who is as flawed and brutal as anyone else.
I am slowly learning a lesson children learn. Think before you speak. Some words you can never take back. Some prophecies should never be uttered and some prophecies should never be fulfilled.
*Some posts were written earlier (sometimes years earlier) and are posted out of order. The chronology is off and the writing will be uneven. My ideas, values, and milieu may have changed since then. Thank you for still taking the time to read it.