Self-fulfilling prophecies, or how to defeat yourself

I will tell you the story of Oedipus, But not the part that everyone knows, when the character from Greek mythology falls in love and marries his mother, but what happens before; the series of unfortunate events leading to the extravagant result.

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. It seems, however, that he had an anxious character … Concerned about the future, he decided one day to consult the Oracle of Delphi, something similar to the modern horoscope but more sophisticated, linked to the divinatory skills of some. Greek gods.

Faced with Oedipus’s uncertainty and insecurity about his future destiny, The Oracle pronounced tragically and forcefully: “Your destiny is to assassinate your father and marry your mother.” Of course, Oedipus was horrified at the idea.

How could he ever do such a thing? It seemed to him something unthinkable, inconceivable; but the truth was that the Oracle had an impeccable reputation: he was never wrong to predict the fate of those who consulted him. What the Oracle foresaw, has come true. It was the law.

Oedipus knew this perfectly, like all the inhabitants of ancient Greece. However, he refused to resign himself to his fate, he had to do something immediately to avoid being enveloped in such atrocity. Not knowing the reasons that could lead him to parricide and incest, but convinced that it would be the case if he did not act in the matter, he decided to leave the house where he lived without giving further explanation. and to go to another city, far from the temptations that hover in the future.

So he mounted his horse and went to Thebes.

The crossing went smoothly, until one day when, in a desolate place near the entrance to the city that was going to welcome him and deliver him from his fate, according to Oedipus believed, he had an argument with an old man leading a carriage. They argued over who should go first, cursed each other, and before the two realized they had embarked on a terrible fight that would have the worst end: in the fight, and blinded by anger, Oedipus ended up killing the old man. and run away in fear of the place. In terms of traffic, this has not changed since.

Some time later, already installed in his new home, Oedipus met Jocasta, the queen of Thebes, who had just been widowed, and they fell in love. To simplify the story a bit and record details that don’t come across, I’ll say they got engaged for a few months and then got married.

What follows is the part of the story that everyone knows. Oedipus discovers that those he believed to be his real parents were not, as he had been when he was very young. The old man with whom he had stumbled on his way to the city was none other than Layo, king of Thebes and Oedipus’ biological father, and the woman he had married, his real mother. A disaster of Greek proportions, no more no less.

Horrified by what he had done, and seized by the most pressing despair, Oedipus tore his eyes from his hands and condemned himself to exile, the worst punishment of the time, and applicable only to those who committed the crimes. most aberrant crimes.

The dramatic designs of the Oracle had been accomplished to the letter. Finally Oedipus had been affected by his fate.

The self-fulfilling prophecy that drives us to failure

The reader is probably wondering why I am explaining this to him in an article which in its title promises something else. Well, I find that to be an interesting starting point, a nice metaphor for understanding what follows.

In reality, it was the “belief” in the certainty of the Oracle that made the Oracle’s prognosis a reality.. When Oedipus decides to leave Thebes, instead of seeking more information on the matter, he put in place the mechanisms that would lead him directly to his final destination.

Beyond the obvious paradox, it is here interesting to observe the power of belief over reality.

Expectations and our hostage to them

By definition, a belief is a statement or premise that influences our thinking and behaviorWithout this statement being actually proven reliably or we have valid evidence to back it up.

Believing “something” is not synonymous with that “something” that really exists. However, the simple fact of believing in it often comes to make it a verifiable reality later on. That is why we must be careful about the influence of our expectations on our way of thinking. In the story of Oedipus, “believing” that he was going to end his father’s life was what prompted him, no more and no less, to end his parents’ life.

The set of our beliefs, rather than our own reality, often determines the things that happen to us in life and how we feel. This is how we are. This is how they work.

The beliefs that cause us stress and anxiety

Certain beliefs are often the root of vulnerability to stress. Let’s look at some typical cases.

1. Ramiro, wants to tie eccentric performances

Ramiro believes that in order to attract and conquer a girl, you have to be eccentric, resourceful and sophisticated.. “If I show myself as I am, I won’t love anyone,” he said to himself.

According to this premise, when Ramiro first goes out with a girl, he carries a character who is actually completely foreign to him. In his eagerness to please, he keeps talking about himself, emphasizing his values, openly bragging about his virtues and maximizing his successes.

Let no one be surprised that Ramiro doesn’t have a girlfriend. Women who have dated him describe him as at least spontaneous, selfish and boring. The poor boy never makes it on the first date. Once again, this modern Oedipus takes off which constantly leads him to perdition.

2. Silvia, feeling the need to have a partner

Sylvia, on the other hand, believes that it is impossible to live without love.. And to feel loved by your partner, she is capable of anything.

He avoids conflict by all means because he believes that a fight can trigger the breakdown of the relationship. In this context, Silvia never pleads for anything with Franco, she shuts her mouth to everything he does and annoys him; and he immediately accepts, whether he agrees or not, whatever he says or suggests.

Sílvia believes that it is necessary to sacrifice themselves for love, and this is how their relationship develops, until one day Franco, exasperated by so much submission, passivity and lack of initiative, decides to suddenly end the relationship.

Here you ask them, Franco has no objection to explaining that he needs a real woman by his side, Not a girl, not even a maid.

3. Carla, she is convinced that her fiancé is unfaithful to her

Carla is engaged to Fernando, an important lawyer, and for some time now he has had the idea that his partner is unfaithful to him.

By profession, the man spends a lot of time outdoors, but beyond that Carla really has no evidence that her boyfriend is cheating on her.

However, Carla is obsessed. He constantly checks his cell phone for any incriminating clues, calls him countless times a day just to check on his whereabouts, and gets angry and scolds him often, when faced with little slips from him, like having ten. minutes late when they get together to do something together, a fact that is always significant to her and leads her to suspect that she is “walking on something cloudy.”

Frightened and resentful towards her boyfriend by the ideas brewing in her own brain, rather than reality, Carla spends much of the day in a bad mood. To take revenge for his improbable misdeeds, half the time he treats her with cold indifference and the other half is willing to discuss any trifle.

It doesn’t matter how many times he tells her whatever he wants, whether he gives her chocolates, takes her out to dinner every weekend, or presents her for a full day’s wedding day. in a spa; Carla systematically ignores all these positive gestures and remains stubborn in her fruitless search to demonstrate the veracity of her paranoid beliefs.

Against this background, Fernando, of course, feels neglected, unrequited in his love for her and often abused. Sometimes he even jokes with his friends that he has fallen in love with a Gestapo officer.

One day, by chance, without proposing it, Fernando meets a girl who is the sister of a client. She impresses as friendly, sympathetic and unstructured. They love each other and before they even know it, they end up having coffee and chatting in a bar. near the courts, and then … Okay, I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination what happens next.

At this point, probably if the relationship with Carla hadn’t been so damaged by his indefatigable distrust, Fernando wouldn’t have been tempted or needed to seek affection for another woman.

Carla, like the previous characters in these little fictional stories inspired by real cases from my clinical experience, was the architect of her own destiny.

The importance of not being blindly guided by our beliefs

This is how we establish that our beliefs and expectations affect how we see ourselves and how we perceive others., And that can lead us down the wrong path.

In addition to ailments, we are always well predisposed to seek evidence that confirms our previous beliefs, and we are very reluctant to seek evidence against this. We are very enthusiastic when it comes to corroborating what we think, and the same laziness in investigating why we might be wrong.

The paradox here is that, many times, trying to reject our own opinions is the most sane way to find out if we are right or not.

I think that we should periodically review everything we believe in, especially if it is negative, as it could have a powerful impact on our daily life, without us being aware of it, and push, without realizing it, to create a reality that does not. favors us.

Someone once said, “This defines a reality, and it will be a reality in its consequences.” This is absolutely true. Oedipus can teach that.

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