How many times have wrong thoughts put us in undesirable situations? Our mindset can exert a lot of power over us. It determines what we think. The final decision can be found in us.
Albert Ellis was one of the founders of cognitive psychology. He started developing his therapy in 1962 and called it “rational emotive behavior therapy” (RET). Ellis believed that a large part of the psychological problems that people experience are caused by irrational thought patterns.
Ellis bases his theory on the words of the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus: “People are not changed by facts, but by the way they think about facts.” Thus we can state that his ‘rational-emotive behavior therapy’ is based on the following proposition:
It is not events (A) that shape emotional states (C), but the way in which these events are interpreted (B). Thus, if we are able to change our mental system, that is, our thought patterns, we would be able to develop emotional states that are less painful, more positive, and that correspond to reality.
Based on these statements, Ellis made a list of some irrational beliefs and formed a group of eleven fundamental irrational ideas that we can summarize as follows:
- “I need love and approval from those around me” or “I need to be loved and approved by everyone around me who is important to me.”
- ‘In order to be valuable, I must achieve whatever I set my mind to’ or ‘If I am a valuable person, I must always be competent, adequate, and always able to achieve all the goals I set for myself. have to reach.’
- “Bad people should be punished for their evil deeds.”
- “It’s terrible and disastrous that things don’t turn out exactly the way I want them to, don’t turn out the way I want them to, or don’t turn out the way I want them to.”
- “Human unhappiness has its origin in external causes and I can do nothing or almost nothing to control the pain this causes me.”
- “I have to constantly assume that the worst can happen.”
- “It’s easier to avoid the responsibilities and problems in life than to face them.”
- “We need someone stronger to rely on.”
- ‘My past determines my present and future.’
- “I constantly have to worry about the problems of others.”
- “Every problem has a solution and it is really catastrophic if I can’t come to this solution.”
These fundamental irrational ideas carry three basic principles that individuals demand of themselves, others and the world.
- I have to behave the right way and I have to get approval through the way I behave.
- Everyone should deal with me in a pleasant, understanding and fair manner; if they don’t, they are despicable and should be punished for it.
- My living conditions should be good and easy, so that I can achieve almost anything I want without much effort or inconvenience.
However, not everything is irrational…
On the other side of the coin, however, we find the rational ideas about each of the ideas we just mentioned. Rational ideas are often more agile, don’t put obstacles in your way and don’t create as much intense stress as irrational ideas.
I suggest that you come up with your own rational ideas that you can place in relation to Ellis’s irrational ideas. Or maybe even in your spare time you can reflect on your own life and make a list of the irrational thoughts that are causing you discomfort. In addition, make a list of alternative ways of thinking. That way, you can begin to untie the knots and open a new path to calmness.
–Image courtesy of Francisco Rodríguez–