Cover Image for self-fulfilling prophecies: group discussion
Cover Image for self-fulfilling prophecies: group discussion
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Let's talk about self-fulfilling prophecies!

Hosted by me and Hattie Zhou.

Chris- I've been thinking about self-fulfilling prophecies for the past few months. Examples I like:

  • If you believe you don't have any agency to improve a situation, you won't try.

    • The self-fulfilling prophecy of trauma-mindset.

  • If you believe that negative emotions are bad, they will be. This also creates a spiral.

  • Hope.

  • If you expect that someone won't trust you, they might notice this somehow and distrust you because of it.

  • The self-fulfilling prophecy of putting more energy in than the other person in a relationship out of fear that if don't do it they won't. Signals to them that you're willing to do their work for them.

  • If you tell someone something (e.g.: criticism) with the expectation that they'll take it as bad news, they are significantly more likely to interpret it as "bad", compared to if you had instead chosen not to pass any judgement. You can often criticize people without having them freak out as long as you decide to believe that they'll see it as a positive thing and in no way a negative thing.


  • How do SFPs work?

  • How can we (continue to) harness them?

  • What's more important: the presence of "positive" SFPs, or the absence of negative SFPs?

  • How do SFPs inform therapy?


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Even more examples:

  • Manipulation: Someone who believes that they are helpless in preventing manipulation from others will stay that way.

  • Romantic Relationships: If a person believes that they're unworthy of love, they might not invest in relationships or might self-sabotage budding relationships. The subsequent lack of romantic success could reinforce their initial belief.

  • Parenting: If a parent believes their child is rebellious and difficult to discipline, they may adopt a more authoritarian style, leading the child to become even more rebellious. The child's behavior then reaffirms the parent's initial beliefs.

  • Negotiation: Someone who believes they're a poor negotiator may not even attempt to negotiate salary, benefits, or responsibilities in job settings. Their failure to negotiate, and the resultant acceptance of lower offers, further cements their belief that they can't impact the outcome.

  • Friendships: Someone who believes they're inherently unlikable may avoid social engagements. The resulting lack of friendships can confirm their initial belief, making them even more reluctant to interact socially in the future.

  • Parent Control: An adult child may expect that their parents have the final say in their career path (perhaps due to a history of strong parental guidance). Then, believing that they have little agency in this major life decision, they may forgo exploring careers that genuinely interest them and instead follow a path laid out by their parents—perhaps joining a family business or pursuing a 'safe' profession their parents recommend.

  • Hotness

  • jhanas?

  • hypnosis?

  • Certain conditions, sometimes?

Please think of more and bring your own:)


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