🏵️The human brain is always seeking to find meaning from the information of our environment. Once it has constructed a belief, it rationalizes it with explanations after the event. The brain then becomes invested in the beliefs and reinforces them by looking for supporting evidence while blinding itself to anything contrary.
🧠Irrational beliefs, in particular, are those about us that we have heard and internalized in our childhood, or that have been self-generated through difficult and/or traumatic experiences. These limiting beliefs constrain us in some way and are constantly brought into play and appear in our minds through automatic thoughts. Without realizing it, they are part of our day-to-day. How much attention do we give them? How much do we listen to and believe them? We get trapped in mental loops where we selectively pay attention to everything in our environment that reinforces that limiting thought-belief. We dismiss alternative options and positive evidence making the loop more intense.
✳️Learning to accept these thoughts as a product of our mind while paying attention to our external reality with curiosity (e.g by practicing mindfulness) could be helpful.
✳️Noticing our body sensations can also help to differentiate our thoughts (internal) from our body & environment (external) to put them in perspective.
✳️One way to start breaking mental loops is to detect those negative vicious cycles and accept them without fighting.
✳️Another way is to know that they are just thoughts, and cannot hurt us, and redirect our attention to the present moment by tuning into our personal values.
🔅Self-compassion and talking gently to ourselves can be a positive change if you practice it regularly. Try it and tell me how it goes.
Albert Ellis chose the term irrational as a euphemism for unhelpful, illogical and inconsistent with our social reality.
The four types of Irrational Beliefs
✳️Demands: These are the primary Irrational belief. They often feature phrases such as must, absolute shoulds, have to, need and ought. Example: I would love to succeed and therefore I have to!
✳️Awfulising: awful is defined as anything that is evaluated as being worse than 100% bad. Example: If I don't succeed in my presentation is will be awful!
✳️Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT): Otherwise known as I-can't-stand-it., LFT beliefs feature an acknowledgement of a struggle and an assertion that the struggle is truly unbearable or cannot be stood. Example: If people are rude to me I cannot stand it!
✳️Conditional Self (other, life) Acceptance: Otherwise known as self-downing and generalization, this is where we define our self based on one aspect. Example: If I fail at something important to me then I am a failure
Irrational beliefs list by Albert Ellis:
"It is a dire necessity for an adult human being to be loved or approved by virtually every significant other person in his community"
"One should be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving in all possible respects if one is to consider oneself worthwhile"
"Certain people are bad, wicked, or villainous and that they should be severely blamed and punished for their villainy"
"It is awful and catastrophic when things are not the way one would very much like them to be"
"Human unhappiness is externally caused and that people have little or no ability to control their sorrows and disturbances"
"If something is or may be dangerous or fearsome one should be terribly concerned about it and should keep dwelling on the possibility of its occurring"
"It is easier to avoid than to face certain life difficulties and self-responsibilities"
"One should be dependent on others and needs someone stronger than oneself on whom to rely"
"One’s past history is an all-important determiner of one’s present behavior and that because something once strongly affected one’s life, it should indefinitely have a similar effect"
"One should become quite upset over other people’s problems and disturbances"
"There is invariably a right, precise, and perfect solution to human problems and that It is catastrophic if this perfect solution is not found"
"You can give people (including yourself) a global rating as a human and that their general worth depends upon the goodness of their performances"
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Let me know if you can identify any irrational beliefs in yourself, in comments below.