Have you ever thought you have some sort of clairvoyance? You can predict the future. Have you ever predicted the outcome of a situation or event and assumed it would have a negative outcome? This is fortune telling. This is a cognitive distortion that is harmful to our self esteem, inner self talk, and can often cause depression and social anxiety.
How Does Fortune Telling Harm Your Future?
When we predict a negative outcome to everything we do, we lose motivation to strive for a goal. Imagine applying to college but thinking it doesn’t matter because you’re not going to get in. That anxiety of being told no and not getting in can drive you to think “why try?” then you end up not applying in the first place.
We cannot reach goals without a logical understanding of reaching that goal. That can often mean understanding what is too lofty but it also includes understanding that failing every time is illogical as well. Motivation to live our lives and reach for what we want takes having a positive attitude about the outcome of the work we do. If we are constantly fortune telling we lose motivation to reach that goal.
How can we un-do our fortune telling?
Identify Your Prediction
You cannot change your prediction unless you understand what it is. This can often be a problem with anxiety. It may not be consciously thought. Reach into why you’re upset, why you’re anxious and realize what’s causing it.
What Evidence Do You Have?
What evidence do you have that your prediction will come true? Do you have any? Can you do anything to change it? There were days when I was younger and in college I thought “Why am I even studying? I’m going to fail this test.” Evidence may have been having 3 past tests failed for the same class. Just because the past tests went badly the outcome for this one could be different. How do I make it so? I study, I work hard, I get a tutor, then I pass. This changes the outcome rather then just predicting a failing grade and giving up on studying all together.
Have you ever predicted a negative outcome? Was it true? Was it an irrational fear?
31 Days to a Positive Inner Voice
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This is so true! Predicting a negative outcome makes us give up and makes it a self fulfilling prophecy.
This is so true. Negative expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy! It is really hard to distinguish among anxious thoughts, fortune-telling, and gut feelings. How do you manage these kinds of emotions?
[…] Thinking Style: Fortune Telling […]
This reminds me of daily affirmations! We start believing our inner voice in a positive way, too!