This is called Wishful Thinking. It is a way to confirm the bias they have against themselves.

Confirmation bias, the tendency to favour information that confirms one’s existing beliefs while ignoring or downplaying information that contradicts them, is an integral part of the intricate psychological puzzle involving limiting beliefs, self-fulfilling prophecies, and dysfunctional needs.

If someone has the Limiting Belief “I am a failure” or “I can’t succeed”, what they will do is only look for evidence to support feeling and believe this way. They could fail a test or get dumped (or any other similar situation) and all they would do is look for evidence to support their “I’m a failure” belief. This is called Wishful Thinking. It is a way to Confirm the Bias they have against themselves. They will always be scanning their environment and looking for evidence to support feeling and believing their Limiting Beliefs.

Let’s begin by understanding how confirmation bias interacts with limiting beliefs.

When an individual holds a limiting belief, they are predisposed to seek out evidence that supports this belief while dismissing evidence to the contrary. For instance, an individual who believes they are inherently unlikable might focus on instances of social rejection or criticism while overlooking or minimizing instances of acceptance or praise. This selective attention and interpretation of information serve to reinforce the limiting belief, making it seem even more like an unquestionable truth.

In terms of self-fulfilling prophecies, confirmation bias often works as the mechanism that seals the prophecy’s fulfillment.

Once the prophecy is set in motion, the person’s confirmation bias helps ensure that the prophecy stays on course by directing their attention towards evidence that supports the anticipated outcome. For example, if a person fears they will fail at a task, they will likely focus more on their mistakes, thus confirming their expectation of failure, while disregarding their successes or improvements.

As for dysfunctional needs, confirmation bias might perpetuate the irrationality of these needs by supporting the distorted perceptions that give rise to them. For example, someone with a dysfunctional need for perfection might overemphasize their minor flaws while neglecting their accomplishments, reinforcing their irrational need to be perfect.

Within a therapeutic context, an awareness of confirmation bias allows both therapists and clients to better understand the stubborn persistence of limiting beliefs, self-fulfilling prophecies, and dysfunctional needs. Therapists often help their clients identify and challenge their confirmation biases as part of the therapeutic process. They might help clients cultivate a more balanced perspective, encouraging them to consider contradictory evidence that they might usually overlook due to their biases.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, for instance, uses techniques such as cognitive restructuring to combat confirmation bias.

This involves identifying the negative or irrational thoughts, challenging them, and then replacing them with more positive and balanced thoughts. Clients are taught to question their biases and to actively seek and consider evidence that contradicts their limiting beliefs, thereby breaking the cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies.

A key part of this process is teaching clients that thoughts are not facts.

Just because they think something, does not make it true. This realization can be a powerful tool in loosening the grip of confirmation bias, as individuals learn to take a step back and critically evaluate their thoughts and beliefs.

In essence, understanding confirmation bias and its role in reinforcing limiting beliefs, self-fulfilling prophecies, and dysfunctional needs can be incredibly beneficial.

It adds another layer of insight into how these concepts interact, and how they can be addressed in therapy. By confronting and challenging their confirmation bias, individuals can open themselves up to new perspectives, helping to break the cycle of negative self-perceptions and setting the stage for a healthier, more balanced outlook on life.

Shift 101 – Learn the Shift Language

We don’t want to be throwing jargon at you but it’s essential that you have a basic understanding of some of these concepts