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You can train yourself to behave for your own interest, and for the interests of the social

group in which you choose to live. When you behave neurotically, you create problems w ithin yourself (intrapersonal problems) and problems with and for others (interp ersonal and social difficulties). You mainly choose to upset yourself by creating absolutistic musts and demands b y taking your healthy preferences for success, approval, and pleasure, and turni ng them into unhealthy insistences and commands. Nothing yes, nothing is awful, horrible. Or terrible, no matter how bad, inconve nient, and unfair it may actually be. Stop damning yourself and others by fully accepting the view that wrong, unethic al, and foolish acts never can make you or them into bad or rotten people. Your basic goals are to remain alive and be reasonably happy. Whatever discomfor t, pain, or unhappiness you experience whether it be physical or mental you obse rve, think about it, and push yourself to reduce it. No miracles as many "New Age" treatises cavalierly promise you. But, with hard w ork and practice, you can make yourself less upsettable. Yes, you can. Here are three main musts to look for when you bring on disturbed feelings: Feelings of serious depression, anxiety, panic, self-downing: "I absolutely must perform well on important projects and be approved by significant people or els e I am an inadequate and unlovable person!" Feelings of strong and persistent anger, rage, fury, impatience, bitterness: "Ot her people, particularly those I have cared for and treated well, absolutely mus t treat me kindly and fairly, or else they are rotten individuals who deserve to suffer!" Feelings of low frustration tolerance, depression, self-pity: "The conditions un der which I live absolutely ought to be easy, unfrustrating and enjoyable or els e the world is an awful place, and I'll never be able to be happy!" Your musts are contradicted by social reality. Personally, you can't always succ eed not to mention succeed perfectly. Being a fallible human, you just can't. As far as your demanding that other people must incessantly please you, love you, and do your bidding forget it! As for world conditions being arranged so that they have to give you exactly wha t you want the moment you want it alas, no! Not a chance. Frankly, the universe doesn't give a hoot for your desires, and has no personal interest in you. Let me do my best to change the unfortunate condition or accept it and live with it if I truly find that I can't change it. Whining about how awful it is will o nly make it seem worse than bad and make me feel more miserable! No matter what conditions exist in my life yes, even poverty or fatal illness I can still find some enjoyable pursuits if I think I can and if I try to find the m! So I can stand, can tolerate, almost anything that I really don't like. Disputing your self-defeating, irrational beliefs is one of the main and most he lpful methods of REBT. "Neurotics" choose to over-react to unfortunate adversities by foolishly insisti ng that they must not occur. Accept, though not like, hassles and difficulties.

Your main goals are to remain alive for many more years and to live happily. When your important Goals are blocked by Adversities, you can largely choose to have either healthy or unhealthy feelings and you can also choose to act either helpfully or defeatingly. I want what I want, but I don't absolutely need it. You'd better strongly think, believe, and yes! feel that you can control your ow n emotional destiny. Not others' thoughts and actions. No. Not the fate of the w orld. No. But your thoughts, feelings and actions. Because you upset yourself, therefore you, luckily, can practically always unups et the one person in the world whose thoughts and feelings you control you! Your parents, friends, and culture often encouraged you to damn yourself, others , and the world. In spite of your biology, your family, and your culture you don't need to stupid ly disturb yourself. Because your disturbances include thoughts, feelings, and actions, you can make a three-way attack on them: change your thinking, your emoting, and your behavin g. Use your head, your heart, and your hands and feet! There is no magic, no free lunch. Self-change, while almost always possible, req uires persistent work and practice. I will stop whining about the Adversities and stop demanding that they absolutel y should not and must not exist. Your totality is too complex and too changing to measure. Repeatedly acknowledge that. I wish that the Adversity had not occurred and I don't like it but I can live wi th it. Wanting and not needing changed me forever. Unconditional self-acceptance is the basic antidote to much of your depressed se lf-downing feelings. Self-appraisal almost inevitably leads to one-upmanship and one-downmanship. If you rate yourself as being "good," you will usually rate others as being "bad" o r "less good." If you rate yourself as being "bad," others will be seen as "less bad" or "good." Thereby you practically force yourself to compete with others i n "goodness" or "badness" and constantly feel envious, jealous, or superior. Per sistent individual, group, and international conflicts easily stem from this kin d of thinking and feeling. Once you damn an individual, including yourself, for having or lacking any trait whatever, you become authoritarian or fascistic; for fascism is the very essenc e of people-evaluation. Evaluation of an individual tends to bolster the Establishment and to block soci al change. Since most societies are run by a limited number of "upper-level" people who hav e a strong, vested interest in keeping them the way they are, self-evaluation us

ually encourages the individual to go along with social rules, no matter how arb itrary or foolish they are, and especially to woo the approval of the powers-tha t-be. Conformism, which is one of the worst products of self-rating, generally means c onformity to the time-honored and justice-dishonoring rules of the Establishment . If you do not measure your selfness, you tend to spend your days asking yourself , "Now what would I really like to do, in my relatively brief span of existence, to gain maximum satisfaction and minimum pain?" If you do measure your selfhood , you tend to keep asking, "What do I have to do to prove that I am a worthwhile person?" "Goodness" itself can never accurately be determined, since the entire edifice o f "goodness" is based on concepts, which are largely definitional. Accept rather than rate the so-called self and strive for enjoyment rather than the justification of the existence. I can rate my traits, deeds, acts, and performances for the purpose of surviving and enjoying my life more, and not for the purpose of "proving myself" or being "egoistic" or showing that I have a "better" or "greater" value than others. To believe or not to believe that is the question! Life, as the Buddhists said twenty-four hundred years ago, isn't but includes su ffering. See it as it is, accept the good with the bad, and thereby enjoy much o f it. Your neediness leads you to rate your desire as necessary and potentially self-d owning. There can be no absolute ethics except for angels and God. Surrender your demand to be perfect. Have acceptance that your present path is not likely to work, acceptance that ha ssles will still exist, acceptance that you had better try a different path, and acceptance that the new path (or any new paths) may still not work. Don't upset yourself and give yourself the best chance of dealing with the adver sity You desire what you want, but don't need it. In the course of REBT, the focus is largely on what is happening to clients duri ng the present, and particularly on what they tell themselves about what is happ ening. Why should I live up to any other individual's standards? It is not a matter of teaching children how to control their emotions. It is rat her a matter of teaching people philosophies of living different from the negati ve philosophies which now produce disordered emotions, and, through teaching the se different philosophies, to help them change rather than to control their feel ings. Remember that it never was, in the first place, an original traumatic experience that made people disturbed but their attitude toward this experience at what I

call point "B". So-called sex problems are almost invariably the result rather than the cause of basic problems of thinking. Vital absorption may mean being distinctly concerned about (a) people, or (b) th ings, or (c) ideas, or (d) any combination of (a), (b), or (c). Loving often stems from personal strength meaning, that loving people do not rea lly care that much whether others love them and are therefore strong enough to b e truly interested in others. I favor talking about human thinking, feeling, and behaving mainly in terms of v erbs, to avoid creating thought-things that exist by themselves, out of our cont rol. The goals of psychotherapy are twofold: to help clients disturb themselves less emotionally and to enable them to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Unless they achieve the first of these goals, attaining the second one is, while not i mpossible, damned difficult! When people disturb themselves, they view "bad" things as "awful" or "terrible" and think that they absolutely must not occur. If people want to change their Irrational Bs, which lead to self-defeating Conse quences, to Rational Bs, which lead to self-helping Consequences, they had bette r work on their Believing-Emoting-Behaving and not merely on their Believing. Mo re specifically, they had better vigorously and forcefully (that is, emotively) change their dysfunctional Bs; and at the same time, they forcefully and persist ently feel and act against them. When people confront Adversities (A) and they experience dysfunctional emotional and behavioral Consequences (C) about these Adversities, they almost always hav e self-helping or Rational beliefs (RBs) about these Adversities as well as self -defeating or Irrational Beliefs (IBs) about them. Therefore, A X B = C. This fo rmula is the root of the theory and practice of REBT, as well as is fundamental to many other forms of cognitive-behavior therapies (CBT). People learn overgeneralized self-deprecating from their family, peers and teach ers. "You are a bad boy because you do bad things!" If one thinks that failing makes one a complete failure, this is an illogical ju mp, because a complete failure would have to fail at everything and one surely d oes not do that. A complete failure would also be doomed to fail in the future w hich cannot be proven. Clients can be taught three main methods of disputing their Irrational Beliefs ( IBs): (1) realistically dispute them to show that they do not hold water in the world of fact; (2) logically see that they are mistaken overgeneralizations; and (3) pragmatically realize that they very likely will lead to poor results for t hemselves and others. Do, don't stew! Will power includes the intention, the decision, and the determination to change --and, particularly, the action required to do so. Will has no power without action. The action required for will power involves strong, persistent commitment to act

and to keep acting until changing becomes solid. I suggest that people take the challenge and adventure of creating and maintaini ng a profound attitude of unconditionally accepting themselves, other people, an d world frustrations, no matter what occurs in life. They better make it an inte gral, unforgettable part of their living. Having an optimistic rather than a pessimistic view of themselves and their futu re is highly preferable, as long as people do not take this view to overoptimist ic extremes. Therapists had better encourage their clients to check their strong tendencies t o automatically and habitually think, feel, act. If clients mindfully and consci ously contemplate and examine their self-defeating and society-destroying dysfun ctioning, they can appreciably contribute both to their feeling better and their getting better. Seek happiness today--and also tomorrow! Do cost-benefit calculations to determi ne if your gains, now and in the future, are too costly. Try to create a vital meaning and absorbing interest in your life that you adapt from others or mainly construct yourself. Dedicate yourself, but not rigidly, t o developing and following your meaning. We do not have any absolute certainty about what reality is or what it will be. Things and processes exist on a both/and and an and/also basis. Thus almost ever y human act or condition has its advantages and disadvantages. -Albert Ellis