I Told Me So!
“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.”
Few human practices are as powerful as the self-fulfilling prophecy.
Kierkegaard, the author of the quote above, is a perfect, albeit sad, example. His father died rather young, and despite his strong faith in God, Kierkegaard believed in something more, that he too, would die young. So, in an effort to protect Regine, the love of his life, from the pain of his early death, Soren decided to break off their engagement. He didn’t tell her the truth, because he feared she wouldn’t believe in his “curse,” and she wouldn’t let him go. Instead, Kierkegaard told her he no longer loved her, and thus broke her heart.
What happened? Well, Regine healed from that broken heart, found a good man to marry, and went on with her life. As for Kierkegaard, things went, ironically, how he thought they might. As he watched Regine move on and find another love, Kierkegaard got sick and died. Some believe the cause of death was his broken heart.
It’s a Shakespearean tragedy, really; similar to Macbeth. But in truth we do it to ourselves all the time:
- It’s no use talking to him about this; he’ll never change.”
- “My daughter will always be shy.”
- “I’m never gonna catch a break.”
Whenever we concentrate on all the negative future events we believe are bound to happen, we actually increase the chances of turning those fears into reality. How come? Because when we’re sure about an outcome, we lose the energy, the imagination, and the guts it takes to make a difference.
Let’s watch what we say to ourselves. Let’s stop acting as if we have an online calendar already filled out for the rest of our lives, prognosticating all our fears coming true. Instead, let’s try to cultivate an openness to the day directly in front of us, and a gratitude for all of its possibilities.