If you’re going into a situation thinking about how horrible or uncomfortable it’s going to be, then you’ll likely find all the reasons to back up your beliefs or assumptions. It’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’ll think about how much it sucks, and how badly you want it to stop. Then, your thoughts will be reinforced and you may think, “see, I knew that was going to be bad.” The next time you face a similar situation, you may avoid it, or you will continue to think negatively because your past experience.
You can do this with workouts, events, people, meetings, weather, traffic, your schedule, and almost every other factor in your life.
Most of the time, what you look for is what you’re going to find. Can you see how this cycle works?
Questions you can ask yourself about your perceptions, beliefs and expectations
- Is it kind?
- Is it truthful?
- Is it helping me improve?
- Is it helping me feel good, optimistic or excited?
- Can I think differently to get more out of this experience?
- Can I think differently to be more loving to others, or to myself?
The first step to breaking negative or unhelpful thought patterns is to recognize them. Understand that your thoughts can be controlled and that you can choose your outlook, perceptions and your mood. Building awareness is crucial to creating changes.