Monday, January 7, 2013

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Are you familiar with this term?  It was a vocabulary term for one of my courses in college, and it has stuck with me ever since. Here's the Wikipedia definition; but, my shorter/simpler version is...

When you hear something (about yourself, a person, or a situation), so often, that it actually becomes the reality.

For example, I see students all the time that have been told since they were in first grade that they are unorganized/lazy/not good at writing; and so, by the time they get to me in high school, this has been so deeply ingrained in them that they not only believe it; but, well, it is very much TRUE.  Does this make sense?  Those words become expectations and those expectations become reality.  With me?

Anyway, I had a revelation this weekend (after reading a couple of self-reflective blog posts like this, this, this, and this) that in some ways my "hot mess" persona on the blog has become a self-fulfilling prophecy in my life.
This really happened.
Let me explain... Over the last year and a half or so (really, beginning around the time I had Sam), blogging has become a place where I can allow myself to laugh at all the ways I'm NOT "the perfect mom" I always wanted to/ thought I would be. And, don't misunderstand this, I think that is GOOD.  I think there is a lot of freedom in being able to admit that my house is a mess and I have thirty pounds to lose and my son sometimes throws tantrums in public places, stands up in his hair chair, and wears his pjs all day. 

I love that this is a community where we don't have to compete or judge; we can be real on the good days and the bad.  That is SO good.

BUT, recently, I've started hearing my own words of "your house/ your classroom/ your parenting/ you are a disaster" even louder than I'm hearing some truths like "you are loved," and "you are enough."  And that is NOT GOOD.

There seems to be a trend in the blog-world these days of bloggers trying to "prove" that they aren't perfect.  I've been reading lots lately about how we choose what we show on our public forums, and it isn't always the whole picture.  I like these posts, because I think - for the most part - we need to be reminded that even the moms with perfectly curled hair, matching toddlers, and professionally photo-shopped pictures have ugly days.  BUT, in reading many of those posts, I've been convicted that I'm in kind-of the opposite boat -- I've started looking for the "oh geez, another Mom-Fail I can blog about" moments in my real life, instead of savoring the really beautiful ones. 

It's been pretty deep around here lately, so I'm going to cut to the point now and make this short and sweet (or something like that since it's already about a million words long)...

Words are really powerful.  I, of all people, know that.  (I'm an English teacher and a blogger/writer for goodness sake.)  So, in 2013, along with surrendering and all my other "fresh starts," I'm going to really practice what I preach when it comes to showing myself grace.  I'm going to keep on confessing and laughing at myself when I do ridiculous things like wear two different shoes out (because, really, what else can you do?); BUT, I'm also going to allow myself to focus on the good moments too I'm going to make the self-fulfilling prophecy less about how crazy my life is and more about how redeemed it is.  I'm going to remember that, while life certainly isn't full of butterflies and rainbows all the time (what fun would that be?), it also isn't all a mess.  Just because I'm not perfect, doesn't mean I'm a failure.  That is BIG.

What about you?  What is your self-fulfilling prophecy?  What words have you spoken/written about yourself and allowed to become true?  Do you need to reclaim 2013 too?

If so, as usual, we are in this together!
Jess posted this on her blog today - perfect timing.

*All other photos are from my Instagram (link in sidebar) this weekend.

We'll be back to our regular programming (a little lighter, a little more fun) tomorrow!


  1. What a great reflection! I'm gonna break some unspoken rule here, because I have NOT read this book I'm about to mention (yet), and therefore probably shouldn't recommend it since I have no clue what's actually inside. But I DID read the back and inside flap (and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express..). That counts for something, right?? :) Anyway, I saw it at B&N and thought, "hm, I could probably use that in my life this year." The title is "Change Your Words, Change Your Life" by Joyce Myer. If you do read it, let me know (and I'll do the same) - it sounds right up this alley.

  2. when i was in 3rd grad my teacher told me i wasn't good at math. so in 10th grade my geometry teacher pulled me aside and told me she'd like to move me to her honors class. i told her, "no, i'm not good at math."
    in college i learned the "self-fulfilling prophecy" vocab word, too, and realized what had happened to me. ever since then i've been (or tried to be) more aware of me fulfilling those prophecies...

  3. Thanks for sharing I have been following your blog for a couple of months now....I don't think you're a mess....i am hahaha just kidding. Seriously thanks for reminding me of the word - words are powerful . I know I have quotes everywhere, I write poetry and blog too. But importantly I have two great kids that is just learning the English language, learning how to read and write....I need to be more aware and careful what they hear. Thank you have a wonderful day!

  4. E that last picture, with you and Sam, is precious and perfect. I love what you said here, and also what is written in the Key to Failure post you linked to, and it is exactly what I strive for in my blogging: admission that life isn't perfect balanced with documenting the best parts of life. Day-to-day, I try to remind myself that I'm not perfect and I don't need to be. In photos and blog posts, I like to look back and be reminded of the ost intense beauty in my life, and that of my girls. Thanks for an excellent essay!

  5. Love this! Like, so much! Oh how we have changed. Let's just be and embrace who we've become! Your poor shoes :(

  6. I'm not a mom. Or married. But I can still relate completely. I make fun of myself and my mistakes/royal screw-ups around others all the time as a defense mechanism and I fall into the same trap of looking for times when I screw up. I should also look at when I do something AWESOME or something I'm proud of (like my box brownies- they were so good!).

    Love this post, girl.

  7. This post is awesome. Original & wise. Love it. And so agree! I think i am kind of getting sick of the "trying so hard to be real" phase blog-moms are going through. Like... be real... but celebrate your triumphs as well as your failures. Your bad days AND good days. :)

  8. SHUT UP WITH THIS! I'm not sure if you caught today's post on The Secret and how it's become my 2013 resolution, but the entire concept is just this... laws of attraction.
    What we put out there, we get back. If the universe always hears me focusing on my chaotic life for example, it continues giving me just that - chaos.
    I know it sounds quacky and may not be inline with your beliefs?, but I seriously had an Oprah a-hah! moment while watching the movie the other day.
    I seriously heart you.

  9. Yes! I have a major problem with negative self-talk. I tell myself bad things all the time without even realizing I'm doing it. Then I start to believe all these thoughts as reality. When in fact, they just aren't true. It has taken me a lot of time (and therapy) to catch myself when I'm doing this and change my thought pattern to something more healthy. For instance, I'm not unorganized. I'm just busy with little to no time to organize my house. I have to change what I think about myself.

  10. Loving this post and loving all the deep reflections lately :). You are so right on. I CAN'T WAIT to talk to you more about this. Good good stuff my friend. Oh ps j and Sam HAVE to see ech other this year. He is so cute I just want to cuddle with him. Keep reminding Sam who his best friend is.

  11. such a fun post! I just discovered your blog, and love it! I am always SOOO scared that that will happen to my Tory Burch flats. :(

    I have a problem with always looking at what others are doing and thinking that they're so much better than I am, so why try? I found a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that speaks directly to that ... and I'm starting a new "Wednesday wisdom" series to help combat it as well!

  12. I found this so relatable and was just thinking about this the other day. I was thinking to myself how much this often happens to others how one might not achieve what they could have if they weren't told they were something else. But I never thought how I could have been doing it to myself! Guess a little reality check for the beginning of 2013. Good post!


Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover