Self-fulfilled prophecies, or how to make yourself a failure
I'm going to tell you the story of Oedipus , but not the part that everyone knows, when the character of Greek mythology falls in love and marries his mother, but what happens before; the series of unfortunate events that lead to the extravagant outcome.
The prequel, to be in tune with the times.
Oedipus and the fate of the Oracle of Delphi
Oedipus lived happily with his parents in Corinth. However, it seems that he had a rather anxious nature ... Concerned about what the future holds, he once decided to consult the Oracle of Delphi, something similar to the modern but more sophisticated horoscope, related to the divinatory abilities of certain Greek gods.
In the face of Oedipus' uncertainty and insecurity about his future fate, The Oracle pronounced itself in a tragic and forceful way: "Your destiny is to kill your father and marry your mother". Of course, Oedipus was horrified at the idea.
How could he get to do such a thing? It seemed unthinkable, inconceivable; but the truth was that the Oracle had an impeccable reputation: He never made a mistake when predicting the fate of the person who consulted him. What the Oracle anticipated, it was fulfilled. It was law.
Oedipus knew it perfectly, as did all the inhabitants of ancient Greece. However, he refused to resign himself to his fate, he had to do something immediately to avoid getting involved in such atrocity. Without knowing the reasons that could lead him to parricide and incest, but convinced that it would be so if he did not take action, he decided to leave the house where he lived without giving further explanations and go to another city, well away from the temptations that They stalked in the future.
So, he mounted his horse and went to Thebes .
The journey went without problems, until one day, in a desolate place near the entrance of the city that would welcome and rid of their fate, according to Oedipus believed, had an altercation with an old man who drove a carriage. They argued about who should pass first, they insulted themselves, and before both men could realize they had engaged in a terrible fight that would have the worst ending: In the struggle, and blinded by anger, Oedipus ended up killing the old man and fleeing scared of the place. In transit issues, nothing has changed since then.
Some time later, already installed in his new home, Oedipus met Yocasta, the queen of Thebes, who had just recently become widowed, and fell in love. To simplify the story a little and save details that are not relevant, I will say that they were together for a few months and then they got married.
What continues is the part of history that everyone knows. Oedipus discovers that those who were believed by his real parents were not really, because he had been adopted when he was very young. The old man with whom he had stumbled into the city was none other than Laius, the king of Thebes and biological father of Oedipus, and the woman he had married, his real mother. A disaster of Greek proportions, neither more nor less .
Horrified by what he had done, and imprisoned in the most desperate despair, Oedipus tore his eyes with his own hands and condemned himself to exile, the worst of punishments at the time, and only applicable to those who committed the crimes more aberrant.
The dramatic designs of the Oracle had been fulfilled to the letter. Finally Oedipus had been reached by his destiny.
The self-fulfilling prophecy that leads us to failure
It is likely that the reader is wondering why I am telling you this in an article that in its title promises something else. Well, I think it's an interesting starting point, a nice metaphor to understand what's next.
Actually, It was the "belief" in the certainty of the oracle that caused, precisely, that the forecast of the Oracle became a reality . When Oedipus decided to leave Thebes, instead of seeking more information about it, he set in motion the mechanisms that would take him directly to his final destination.
Beyond the obvious paradox, here it is interesting to observe the power of belief over reality.
Expectations and how we are held hostage
By definition, a belief is an affirmation or a premise that influences our thinking and our behavior , without in fact that statement is reliably demonstrated or we have valid evidence to support its veracity.
Believing "something" is not synonymous with that "something" actually exists. However, the mere fact of believing it, often enough to turn it into a reality that can be verified later. That is why we must take care of the influence that our expectations play in our way of thinking.In the story of Oedipus, "believing" that he was going to end his father's life was what triggered, nothing more or less, to end the life of his father.
The set of our beliefs, before our own reality, often determines the things that happen to us in life, and how we feel. That's how we are. That's how we work
Beliefs that generate stress and anxiety
Certain beliefs are often at the root of vulnerability to stress. Let's see some typical cases.
1. Ramiro, wants to flirt by showing off eccentric
Ramiro believes that to be able to attract and conquer a girl, you have to show eccentric, witty and sophisticated . "If I show myself as I am, I will not like anyone," he says to himself.
Under this premise, when Ramiro goes out with a girl for the first time, he puts on a character that is totally alien to him. In his eagerness to please, he does not stop talking about himself, to emphasize his values, to openly brag about his virtues and maximize his achievements.
Nobody should be surprised that Ramiro does not have a girlfriend . The women who have dated him describe him as not very spontaneous, egotistical and bored. The poor boy never passes the first date. Once again, this modern Oedipus takes the flight that takes it nonstop to perdition.
2. Silvia, feels the need to have a partner
Silvia, on the other hand, believes that it is impossible to live without love . And just to feel loved by your partner is capable of everything.
Avoid conflicts by any means, because you think that a fight can trigger the breakup of the relationship. In this context, Silvia never discusses anything with Franco, closes her mouth before everything he does and bothers him; and accepts immediately, whether he agrees or not, everything he says or proposes.
Silvia believes that you have to immolate yourself for love, and this is how your relationship develops, until one day, Franco, exasperated by such submission, passivity and lack of initiative, decides to end the relationship suddenly.
Who asked, Franco has no qualms about explaining that he needs a real woman by his side Not a daughter, much less a servant.
3. Carla, is convinced that her fiancé is unfaithful
Carla is dating Fernando, an important lawyer, and For some time now he has gotten into his head the idea that his partner is unfaithful .
By her profession, the man spends a lot of time outside, but beyond that, Carla actually has no proof that her boyfriend cheats on her.
However, Carla is obsessed. He permanently checks his cell phone for any incriminating evidence, calls it countless times a day just to control where he is, and gets angry and scolds him frequently, before small slips of him, such as arriving ten minutes late when they find each other to do something together, a fact that for her is always significant and leads her to suspect that "she is in something shady".
Scared and resentful with her boyfriend for the ideas that are born in her own brain, rather than for reality, Carla spends a good part of the day in a bad mood. In revenge for his improbable misdeeds, half of the time he treats it with cold indifference and the other half is well predisposed to discuss about any trifle .
It does not matter how many times he tells her everything that he wants her, that he gives her chocolates, that he takes her to dinner every weekend, or gives him a full day in a spa for the day of the bride; Carla systematically disregards all these positive gestures and continues obstinate in her fruitless search to demonstrate the veracity of her paranoid beliefs.
In this context, Fernando, of course, feels neglected, unrequited in his love for her and often mistreated. Sometimes he even jokes with his friends saying that he has fallen in love with a Gestapo officer.
One day, by chance, without being asked, Fernando meets a girl who is the sister of a client. She impresses him as cordial, friendly and unstructured. They like each other and before they know it they end up having a coffee and talking in a bar close to Courts, and then ... Well, I leave to the reader's imagination what happens next.
Reached this point, probably if the relationship with Carla had not been so deteriorated by his indefatigable distrust, Fernando would not have been tempted or had the need to seek affection in another woman.
Carla, like the previous characters of these small fiction stories inspired by real cases of my clinical experience, has been the architect of her own destiny.
The importance of not letting ourselves be guided blindly by our beliefs
We thus established that our beliefs and expectations affect the way we perceive ourselves and others , and it can take us the wrong way.
To make matters worse, we are always well predisposed to look for evidences that confirm our previous beliefs, and we are very lazy to look for evidences against. We are great enthusiasts when it comes to corroborating what we think, and equally lazy to inquire into the reasons why we could be wrong.
The paradox here is that, many times, try to dismiss our own opinions is the most sensible way to know if we are right or not .
I think it is convenient to periodically review everything we believe in, especially if it is negative, because it could be having a powerful impact on our day to day, without us being aware of it, and pushing us, without our realizing it, to create a reality that does not favor us.
Someone once said: "define a reality, and it will be a reality in its consequences". It is absolutely true. Oedipus can give a lecture on this.