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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy



Contents

A feeling of belonging

Valued/Devalued

The greedy and the needy

What is Love?

Find your balance in life





"A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. A positive or negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion—declared as truth when it is actually false—may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy." (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy).

"Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person's behaviour toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled."
(http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/self-fulfilling-prophecy.html).

If we look for good in ourselves and others we find good,
If we look for bad in ourselves and others we find bad.

People sometimes act out the expectations that the others put on them. If someone is seen as quiet and boring, that person will be excluded from social activities that provide some opportunities to develop social skills.

We unconsciously build mental pictures (true or false) of the world and the others in it based on our own experiences when we interact with others. The way we see of ourselves and others are based on those experiences and mostly determines how we treat ourselves and others. This can lead to a kind of circular thinking and behaviour. For example, if a teacher is falsely told that Fred is bright and Bob is a slow learner, Fred will be treated differently to the Bob. The other students may treat Fred/Bob the same way the teacher treats them. Fred will more likely feel respected, and therefore have confidence in himself (valued), and Bob may develop a lack of respect, value, and confidence in himself and others (devalued). If I have been treated badly or abused by others, I may lack the confidence to develop friendships and relationships. Alternatively I may strike out at others in anger and pain and treat others the way I have been treated.


A feeling of belonging
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God has made us social animals. Yes, there are people that live unhappy or solitary lives, but if we have an opportunity to have a look into their lives, we may find the reasons why...

Family history (Generational curses)

Learn from parents

Family dynamics

Daughters may marry their fathers and sons may marry their mothers

Follow in someone’s footsteps (role models)

Our body chemistry

Peer groups (peer pressure)

The world we live in

Social stigma (Labeling)

Valued/Devalued
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It is possible for any person to be valued/devalued for any reason in any community. Some studies were done with school children a few years ago where the class was divided into groups (Jane Elliott's Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise). Children were divided into two groups, those with blue eyes and those with brown eyes. The group with blue eyes were told that they were in control and superior to the brown eyed group. The results clearly showed that people become disadvantaged quite easily. Doesn’t this happen in the churches and other places today? Just as Muslims were targeted a few years ago because they may be terrorists, all Muslims became disadvantaged. The same thing has happened to the Jews and any number of other groups of people. The same thing can happen in any community. If I wear my P.J's to work (which has happened in America) I am seen as someone who is different. In some communities a particular characteristic can be an advantage. While I was traveling around the Northern Territory I certainly felt like a second class person in the shops. I spent some time living in an Aboriginal community and it took a while to become accepted as a part of their community. If a group of people are treated as superior to another group, they will feel important and do not tolerate any attempt of the members of the inferior group to be treated equally. Male/Female, White/Black, Catholic/Protestant, Christians/Muslims.

Just as labels can be valued or devalued, the roles that are attributed to the label can be modified or changed to reinforce a particular characteristic, to support, justify or legitimise our treatment of a particular person or group. In all the above examples it can be seen that if society wants to portray (label) a particular person or group positively, then the positive characteristics are reinforced, and as a result a positive role is assigned to the person or group. Alternatively, if society wants to devalue a person or group, the negative characteristics of the person or group are reinforced, which means that the role is devalued. This happens in all parts of society, both on a conscious and unconscious level. People with high support needs that do not have the support structures to provide for their needs are often seen as a burden on society and as a result are assigned labels and roles that describe their circumstances. A person that has a mental illness, for example, may be accommodated in a hospital because that is the setting that is most able to accommodate the person's needs.
Society unconsciously associates the picture of a hospital with all people with a mental illness and, as a result, that label and the associated roles are assigned to the person or group.

The bible is full of examples of people that have been victimised because they have stepped outside the excepted ways of behaviour. Jesus was the greatest example of victimisation. He was seen as a threat to the established ways and was treated as such (the mob mentality). The story of Job also shows how disadvantaged people are treated differently.

The story of the Good Samaritan shows us that love goes beyond class or labels. Jesus was describing the difference between a Religious Spirit (conditional love) and a Christian Spirit (unconditional love), i.e. the Samaritan had more love for his fellow man than the Jews. Self-


The greedy and the needy
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Yes there are greedy people out there. But who are we to judge them? We don’t know their history or situation. Just as the rich man asked Jesus "what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life" Jesus asked him has he done this and that and the reply was "Yes". Jesus’s reply was to "give all your money away". These are the very people that need to feel loved the most. Instead of judging them, when we meet greedy people we should plant a seed of giving and encourage them share with others. We should show them that there is another way to live and that money or possessions are not everything. "A person cannot live on bread alone". If we see others as greedy, bad, up to no good, lazy, full of pride, useless, hopeless etc., we should try to find something positive and try to bring out that quality. We may be surprised what we find. Just as the fisherman who gave a person fish, could have said to himself "that person is a greedy/lazy good for nothing bludger" and told him to go somewhere else. Instead, the fisherman showed him forgiveness, patience and kindness (love), and showed him how to catch fish. The person was empowered and had more control of his life. He also had the opportunity to empower others.


What is Love?
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Unconditional Love: patience, forgiveness, letting go, empathy, compassion, nurturing, persistent.
Conditional Love: Agape, Phileo, Storge, and Eros.

If we are confused, lonely, feeling down or unloved, we need to be in a warm supportive and loving atmosphere. We need to feel safe. We need the support of someone we love (husband, wife, brother, sister or friend etc.). We need the fellowship with others who care.

"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV))

We can say to each other "God loves you", but the real question is "Do we really love each other as we are loved"? Our love for God is reflected in our love for each other and our love for each other is reflected in our love for God. Love is more than a feeling, it is an action that is felt in one person to another. We feel loved because we know we are loved, and, we know we are loved because we feel loved. Love gives us the confidence to enjoy the things we have been given and to share with others. If we have love, other things become less important to us. If we have an unconditional (Gods) love for each other there will be no need for prophecy, tongues or knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)).

Only a small start can lead to something greater.


Find your balance in life
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Whatever happens in life there is always going to be the good, the bad and the ugly. The trick is to learn to find your balance and accept what happens and deal with it appropriately. Of course there are going to be times when you hurt others, or are hurt and, learning the triggers and ways to deal with these are important.

The Chinese have a philosophy of yin and yang; that everything is balanced by its opposite, and when these opposites get out of alignment then serious problems can occur. This view is supported in the bible. God gave us the choice between good and evil. If there was no evil there would be no good, just as you cannot have day without night. Do we not look forward to the winter when the summer days are 40+ degrees? If the climate was warm, still and comfortable all the time, wouldn’t we find some complaint and get sick of it.

Just as Solomon had everything and lacked nothing, found no joy in life, we to, will take it all for granted and look for something else. Doesn’t God mix things up to keep us alive? When we have the bad, it is to remind us, and be thankful, of the good. If life is always good we become complacent and take it for granted.

God did not make us perfect for a reason. We have free will here. We can choose to live in greed and hate or we can live in sharing and love. Most of us live with a balance of both. We need to have a certain amount of greed to ensure our survival, but we also need to be able to share with others to give life meaning.


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