"I told you so!"
"Just as I thought!"
"Just as I'd expected"
"I knew she was going to be difficult!"
"I knew he was going to turn out to be a cheater!"
"I knew I should never have hired him"
"I knew I was going to hate this class...this job...this assignment".
These are just some of the expressions we use when we experience a situation that we have been dreading or assuming that would turn out negative and then we prove ourselves right.
So are these "premonitions" or are we walking into these situations thinking negatively ahead of time - thereby creating them?
The answer is both, because they both stem from the same thing - our preconceived thoughts about them.
You see, our brains like "labels." When a new experience or situation is on the horizon, it is our brains' natural function to try and put it into a "category" that we can relate to. These categories are built around past experiences we have had, or even sometimes simply heard about.
So quite often without realizing it, we can put a "future" experience into a negative category in our minds that will then "predict" the outcome of the new experience. Because we are already assuming the negative and believing the negative...well, let's just say it's not difficult to see how this is going to end up.
Here's an example. Imagine that a third grader on his first day of school is either especially exuberant or nervous. So on his first day he is either talking a lot or upset and uncooperative.
Now the teacher... who doesn't know this child yet...automatically "labels" this child as "going to be a problem" for the rest of the year. It's hard to blame the teacher from a practical standpoint, because the teacher knows that "bad" behavior has to be nipped in the bud immediately if he/she is going to maintain any kind of control over the class for the rest of the year.
So now the teacher "knows" this child has to be reprimanded as soon as the "bad" behavior begins to prevent it from getting worse. So from here on in, any time the child talks to someone else, the teacher pounces on it. If there is a dispute between this child and another student, the teacher automatically assumes that it is the "troublemakers" fault. The "troublemaker" gets spoken to more harshly than the other children and gets reprimanded more often.
So now how do you think the third grader is going to interpret this? That the teacher doesn't like him - that the teacher is always picking on him - that the teacher doesn't talk to the other students that way, etc.
So, if that is true, how do you think this student is likely to behave in the future? With anger, with resentment, by acting out "just as the teacher assumed that he would", because the teacher just knew he was going to be a troublemaker; meanwhile the child is simply re-acting to the way he was being treated in the first place.
This is the kind of vicious circle many of us get caught up in. We have one bad experience, then immediately assume anything like it belongs in the same bad experience category, so we right off the bat start looking for the "problems."
Then of course, after we have brought these exact problems about we say "You see? I knew it! I knew it was going to turn out this way!"
What else can we expect to happen? We're expecting it to be a bad experience, we are focusing on all the "bad" in it... how can it end up being anything else?
If you feel you keep having the same "bad" experiences over and over again it might be time to look at your own "labeling system." Are you walking into a situation automatically assuming that you are not going to enjoy it? Automatically assuming it is going to be a bad experience, simply because of what has happened in the past?
For instance, a dreaded job, an invitation, a relationship, a financial situation, even something as mundane as a retail store? Do you ever find yourself saying things like "I hate going to that store, the lines are always so long," or I can never find a salesperson when I need one".
It is time to remember that you have the choice in every single minute to change your thoughts about something. It is time to remember that today is a new day and just because "this happened" last time - there is nothing outside of you that is saying that it has to happen the same way again. Only you can make that choice. Only you can decide what part of a situation you want to focus upon. Only you can decide what you would like the new outcome to be.
There is a favorite quote of mine from Wayne Dyer that says "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
Even though it may seem to you that "nothing ever changes" it is in fact changing constantly. Every single situation is different and brings something new to the table. However, if you keep having the same "old" thoughts about it -- then you are just going to naturally reproduce the same "old" outcomes.
So in the future, try to catch yourself when you start to go through this labeling practice. When you feel yourself automatically dreading something that reminds you of a past experience, catch yourself and soothe yourself into knowing that just because that is what happened last time, does not mean it has to happen again.
Keep your focus on a different outcome. Daydream and imagine different possibilities that you hadn't considered before. If a negative thought tries to pop in, pivot and think about what you would like to experience.
You will be amazed at how easily you can create an entirely different outcome simply by having an entirely different thought about it.