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Are Your Irrational Beliefs Holding You Back?

Do you ever wonder whether your own beliefs are holding you back? If you are someone who finds yourself thinking you “can’t” or you “must” or you “should,” or if you use any similar words, then I suggest you read the following blog as it can help relieve you from some unnecessary stresses and anxieties that are caused by your own mind.

According to expert psychologist Albert Ellis, our negative self-talk and our belief system is the main cause of our emotional disturbances. There are many reasons to respect and admire Ellis’ contribution to the world of psychology, but my favorite one is his ability to create a structure that can help individuals move from a negative place to a more positive place using simple and very rational steps.

Before I even get into irrational beliefs and how they hold you back, I would like you to take a moment and think about something that you wish you could do, but you don’t think you can. It doesn’t matter how small or big that thing that you want, what matters most is what you tell yourself about that thing.

Personally, I can think of many things that I find myself wishing I could do. One example that comes to mind is that I want to review the content of my book projects and decide which one I feel more passionate about so I can move forward with it. The thought of reviewing such massive amounts of content, which I have already invested lots of time and money and energy into, can easily bring me down and into a loop of negative thinking. However, once I let myself be aware that it is my mind creating this negative spiral, I am able to redirect my thoughts into more positive and constructive ones. So write that thing that you have in mind down or hold it in your head. Now, why don’t you move forward and obtain what you want?

Albert Ellis identified 12 irrational beliefs that hold you back from certain situations. I encourage you to read through the list, and see if these are thoughts that you find yourself having. Maybe you identify strongly with a couple.

Below are the 12 Irrational Beliefs that Albert Ellis came up with:

1. The idea that it is a dire necessity for adults to be loved by significant others for almost everything they do — Instead of concentrating on their own self-respect, on winning approval for practical purposes, and on loving rather than on being loved.

2. The idea that certain acts are awful or wicked, and that people who perform such acts should be severely damned — Instead of the idea that certain acts are self-defeating or antisocial, and that people who perform such acts are behaving stupidly, ignorantly, or neurotically, and would be better helped to change. People's poor behaviors do not make them rotten individuals.

3. The idea that it is horrible when things are not the way we like them to be — Instead of the idea that it is too bad, that we would better try to change or control bad conditions so that they become more satisfactory, and, if that is not possible, we had better temporarily accept and gracefully lump their existence.

4. The idea that human misery is invariably externally caused and is forced on us by outside people and events — Instead of the idea that neurosis is largely caused by the view that we take of unfortunate conditions.

5. The idea that if something is or may be dangerous or fearsome we should be terribly upset and endlessly obsess about it — Instead of the idea that one would better frankly face it and render it non-dangerous and, when that is not possible, accept the inevitable.

6. The idea that it is easier to avoid than to face life difficulties and self-responsibilities — Instead of the idea that the so-called easy way is usually much harder in the long run.

7. The idea that we absolutely need something other or stronger or greater than ourselves on which to rely — Instead of the idea that it is better to take the risks of thinking and acting less dependently.

8. The idea that we should be thoroughly competent, intelligent, and achieving in all possible respects — Instead of the idea that we would better do rather than always need to do well, and accept ourselves as quite imperfect creatures, who have general human limitations and specific fallibilities.

9. The idea that because something once strongly affected our life, it should indefinitely affect it —- Instead of the idea that we can learn from our past experiences but not be overly-attached to or prejudiced by them.

10. The idea that we must have certain and perfect control over things — Instead of the idea that the world is full of improbability and chance and that we can still enjoy life despite this.

11. The idea that human happiness can be achieved by inertia and inaction — Instead of the idea that we tend to be happiest when we are vitally absorbed in creative pursuits, or when we are devoting ourselves to people or projects outside ourselves.

12. The idea that we have virtually no control over our emotions and that we cannot help feeling disturbed about things — Instead of the idea that we have real control over our destructive emotions if we choose to work at changing the “musturbatory” hypotheses which we often employ to create them.

What you believe and what you tell yourself about what you feel has a significant impact on the types and intensity of emotions you experience. Whether they are fact or fiction, there are certain beliefs that are more likely to leave you in anger, sadness or anxiety. How many of the below do you identify with? Are these the things you are telling yourself?

  • There is a right way to feel in every situation.

  • Letting others know that I am feeling bad is a weakness.

  • Negative feelings are bad and destructive.

  • Being emotional means being out of control.

  • Emotions can just happen for no reason.

  • If I feel a certain way, I must act on my feeling.

Identifying your irrational thoughts and writing them down can be a life changing experience for you if you are willing to invest the time and show yourself compassion and love. How about we end with you thinking about what prevents you from achieving some of your goals? Now, write these down and be as honest as you can be with yourself. Are you able to identify some irrational beliefs? One irrational thought that dictated my life for many years was that if I wasn’t a high achiever I was worthless. After spending years trying to aim higher and higher, I realized that feeling worthy had nothing to do with my achievements, and I had to learn to feel worthy each step of the way regardless of my achievements. OK, now it is your turn. What is holding you back?

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