Albert Ellis is an American psychologist who I admire and use some of his techniques and ideas when working with clients. He is an important contributor to the ideas behind cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). He discovered that people’s beliefs strongly affect their emotional functioning. In particular certain irrational beliefs made people feel depressed, anxious or angry and led to self-defeating behaviors.

When one believes in something that is false, a negative belief tends to become what Ellis called an “irrational” belief. Irrational beliefs are not friendly to happiness and contentment and are definitely unhelpful for getting one’s basic desires for love and approval, comfort and achievement or success met.

We all express ourselves differently, but the irrational beliefs that upset us can be placed under Three Major Musts, as Ellis referred to them. Each of these core beliefs contains an absolute must or demand that we place on ourselves and others. These three majors musts can be summarised as follows:                                                                                                  1.   I must do well and win the approval of others                     

2. Other people must do the right thing or else they are no good and deserved to be punished                                             

3. Life must be easy without discomfort or inconvenience

Do you recognise yourself in any of these 'musts' and demands you place on yourself and the world?  My next blog will outline some ways in which you can challenge these irrational beliefs.

Irrational Beliefs we hold about ourselves & others

1. I must do well and get the approval of everybody who matters to me or I will be a worthless person.  2. Other people must treat me kindly and fairly or else they are bad.
3. I must have an easy, enjoyable life or I cannot enjoy living at all.
4. All the people who matter to me must love me and approve of me or it will be awful.
5. I must be a high achiever or I will be worthless.
6. Nobody should ever behave badly and if they do I should condemn them.
7. I mustn't be frustrated in getting what I want and if I am it will be terrible.
8. When things are tough and I am under pressure I must be miserable and there is nothing I can do about this.
9. When faced with the possibility of something frightening or dangerous happening to me I must obsess about it and make frantic efforts to avoid it.
10. I can avoid my responsibilities and dealing with life's difficulties and still be fulfilled.
11. My past is the most important part of my life and it will keep on dictating how I feel and what I do.
12. Everybody and everything should be better than they are and  if they're not, it's awful.
13. I can be as happy as is possible by doing as little as I can and by just enjoying myself.