have not read part I, go back and read https://chrismlegg.com/2011/10/17/understanding-ours-and-others-emotions/
Here are some of the habitual beliefs that can really cause us problems:
1. That everything people do is an indication of whether they really love us or not. If our husband doesn’t take us on a date, it means he doesn’t love us; if our children don’t call every week, they must not care about us; if our wife is on the phone when we get home… you get the picture?
2. We assume negative (and sometimes intentional, strategic and wicked) motives for what other people do. But, honestly, it is pretty uncommon for someone to be willing to set aside serious thought and sacrifice just to cause us problems or suffering. “She knows I hate it when she raises her eyebrow at me; she is doing it just to annoy me.” More likely, it is a habit, or maybe just an insensitivity, and most likely just us being too sensitive. The tendency and willingness to assume positive motives in others is a key one for general contentedness.
3. Over dramatic and expressive words we use with ourselves in order to magnify what we are more likely experiencing.
Traffic is rarely “horrible” (the equivalent to being tracked through the snow by a relentless axe wielding Jack Nicholson – that is what we call “horror”). Christmas with our over-bearing or annoying family may be challenging, but isn’t really “terrible” (the emotion of finding oneself
trapped on a plane with terrorists with bombs and guns).
Notice how, in our culture, we have come to encourage and embrace this belief error? No-one is ever tired, they are exhausted; not cold, freezing; not hunger, starving. These words are powerful influencers of our beliefs and thus our emotions! It is tough to get super angry about traffic being “a little annoying” or over being “disappointed”. However, it being “absolutely awful” or “total betrayal” justifies extreme emotional response!
Base and foul language can fall into this category as well – we use bad language to amplify emotions – we aren’t just angry, we are f’ing angry! And after say it, we are.
4. When we are convinced of an “External Locus of Control” – meaning that someone outside of us is making the important decisions for us and we have little or no control over our own lives, especially how we feel. This is, of course, the main error that REBT is trying to help deal with.
5. That we should avoid all suffering at all times, and all failure is bad. The extension of this one is that what we face “isn’t fair”… and that we “deserve” fairness or good stuff. “Deserve” is a powerful emotional word and it relates to beliefs that lead to powerful emotions. If we truly believe that we “deserve” to be happy or rich or to avoid suffering, then we are in trouble. If we don’t understand that failure is a part
of life, then we are in trouble. Now, one of the few words that is more abused than “deserves” is…
6. “Need.” We call something a need that isn’t one. Sex, money, a big house, lots of clothes, new shoes, approval, etc… are NOT needs. They are wants, desires, etc. So long as we believe they are hopes or gifts, we will deal with not having them. When we see something as a need, we develop a very strong sense of entitlement to it!
7. Something that affected us will always do so and in potent ways. Many of us face serious issues that are very real and traumatic in our lives. However, even the most traumatic stuff can be lived with, and even learned from. There is nothing – NOTHING – that cannot be reinterpreted in a life-confirming redemptive way if we are willing to do so. We are not doomed by our pasts.
8. That we must maintain control over things is a common belief and it greatly affects especially “Type-A” people. If we are able to dispute this and accept that of course there are things that are outside of our control… like very often (as we talked about if the grief articles) the future consequences of what we do now. Sometimes we are able to predict the effects of our causes, but often we cannot. All we can do is do the best we can with whatever God gives us.
These are some of the most common Beliefs that greatly impact our emotional consequences. Especially for Christians, for whom everything should be seen as a gift of grace – life, joy, goodness, etc… these should be challenged – disputed – readily in our hearts. What are the beliefs you have?
Another place to look for belief issues, particularly those beliefs that are unique, or at least more personal, to you, is under the heading of “life rules.” You can read more about those at https://chrismlegg.com/2010/02/04/a-short-article-on-life-rules/…
So, what are the beliefs that are combining with your situation that are creating an emotional consequence you don’t want?