In the left-hand column are the 12 irrational beliefs, with
a rational alternative beside each
|I need love and approval from those significant
to me, and I must avoid disapproval from any source.
||Love, approval and respect from others
are all good things - but they are not absolute necessities for my
survival. And while I dislike disapproval, it is uncomfortable - not
catastrophic; I can stand it - as I have many times before. Better
that I learn to accept myself, independently of what others think
|To feel happy and be worthwhile I must
achieve, succeed at whatever I do, and make no mistakes.
||I will always seek to achieve as much as
I can, but unfailing success and competence is unrealistic. Better
I just accept myself as a person, separate from my performance.
|People should always do the right thing.
When they behave obnoxiously, unfairly or selfishly, they must be
blamed and punished.
||It is unfortunate that people sometimes
do bad things. But humans are not yet perfect, and upsetting myself
will not change that reality.
|Things must be the way I want them to be,
otherwise life will be intolerable.
||There is no law which says that things
have to be the way I want. It is disappointing when they are not,
but I can stand it especially if I avoid awfulising about frustration
and demanding that it not happen.
|My unhappiness is caused by things outside
my control, so there is little I can do to feel any better.
||Many external factors are outside my control.
But it is my thoughts (not the externals) which cause my feelings
- and I can learn to control my thoughts.
|I must worry about things that could be
dangerous, unpleasant or frightening, otherwise they might happen.
||Worrying about things that might go wrong
will not stop them happening. It will, though, ensure I get upset
and disturbed right now!
|I can be happier by avoiding lifes
difficulties, unpleasantnesses and responsibilities.
||Avoiding problems is only easier in the
short term putting things off can make them worse later on.
It also gives me more time to worry about them!
|Everyone needs to depend on someone stronger
||Relying on someone else can lead to dependent
behaviour. It is OK to seek help, as long as I learn to trust myself
and my own judgement.
|Events in my past are the cause of my problems,
and they continue to influence my feelings and behaviours now.
||The past cannot influence me now. My current
beliefs cause my reactions. I may have learned these beliefs in the
past, but I can choose to analyse and change them in the present.
|I should become upset when other people
have problems and feel unhappy when theyre sad.
||It is good to empathise with and help others,
but I cant change their problems and bad feelings by getting
|I shouldnt have to feel discomfort
and pain. I cant stand them and must avoid them at all costs.
||Why should I in particular not feel discomfort
and pain? I dont like them, but I can stand them. Also, my life
would be very restricted if I always avoided discomfort.
|Every problem should have an ideal solution,
and it is intolerable when one cannot be found.
||Problems usually have many possible solutions.
It is better to stop waiting for the perfect one and get on with the
best available. I can live with less than the ideal.