Your state of mind has a huge impact on the way you conduct yourself. Your ongoing beliefs determine a tremendous amount of the way you look at reality and apply those perspectives.Even if your beliefs are completely unreasonable, unrealistic, and irrational, you are likely to continue to proceed with your habits reflective of those beliefs. Therefore, before you begin to change your conduct, it is very important to first take an examination of your beliefs in the first place to determine if they are sane, reasonable, and realistic.
Examples of popular insane beliefs:
- If you believe people are bad, untrustworthy, and manipulative, you will act in a way that maintains ongoing mistrust of them.
- If you believe you are inadequate and defective, you will continually prove that in your habits. Example: giving up before you start.
- If you believe you must have everyone approve of you, you will continually try to get that approval even if that means you must compromise your principles along the way.
- If you believe you must win and/or avoid losing, you will routinely become defensive, preferring to argue rather than reaching agreement with people.
- If you believe the world is a very dangerous place, you will continually operate from fear and worry, and will avoid new initiatives because of your fear.
- If you believe that you are fundamentally unlovable, you will prove it by avoiding any long-term and committed relationships.
- If you believe that you are rarely responsible for anything, then you are likely to play victim and routinely blame everyone else.
- If you believe you are stupid and unable to compete with people who are smart, you will give up and withdraw before you even get started.
- If you believe that anxiety and fear are good motivators, you will always use fear to propel you and will continually feel inadequate and less than good enough.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT THIS?
It is very important to examine and acknowledge your ongoing foundational beliefs in the first place. How much of what you believe is unreasonable, irrational, and unrealistic?
To operate from a realistic, rational, and reasonable point of view, there are 3 steps to help you begin the process:
- Illuminate the Irrational Belief: Clarify it and admit it as something you have believed in for a long time… acknowledge the belief as unreasonable and irrational.
- Dispute the Belief: Refuse to believe that ridiculous belief anymore.
- Replace the Belief: Rewrite the belief with a new one that is more reasonable, realistic, pragmatic and practical.
The late Dr. Albert Ellis outlined the most popular irrational beliefs that many people believe. These are all counter-productive, unreasonable and self-defeating. Take a look at them, decide which of them sounds like you and then consider how you might rewrite them to new and improved beliefs.
THE IRRATIONAL BELIEFS
By Albert Ellis Ph.D.
- “Everyone must love me and approve of me” – The belief that it is a dire necessity for you to be loved or approved of by every significant other person in the community. (You may realize this is impossible… there are just too many people that you think must approve of you.)
- “The Perfection Obsession” – The belief that you must be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving in all possible respects if you are to consider yourself worthwhile. (Once again this is impossible since it is very difficult to find someone who is perfect.)
- “The Bigot” – The belief that certain people are bad, wicked, and villainous and should be severely blamed and punished for their villainy. (Really? Do you notice how we as a species have been condemning others for years and attempting to wipe them out? So how has that worked out?)
- “The Catastrophizer” – The belief that it is awful and catastrophic when things are other than you would very much like them to be. (Many people are catastrophizers, awfulizers, and crisis junkies, and all they do is spend time obsessing about how awful things are. There is always a difference between how life is supposed to be and how life is.)
- “They Made Me Do It” – The idea that human unhappiness is externally caused and you have little ability to control your sorrows and disturbances. (Here you are avoiding responsibility for yourself and blaming everyone else.)
- “The Worrier” – The belief that if something is or may be dangerous or fearsome, you must be terribly concerned about it and must keep dwelling on the possibility of its occurring. (Here is the worry-wart, the obsessor, the chronic anxiety addict who is perpetually concerned about anything that might be frightening.)
- “The Avoider” – The belief that is it easier for you to avoid rather than to face certain life difficulties and self-responsibilities. (You might want to ask yourself a question, “Is it really easier to avoid it?”)
- “The Dependent” – The belief that you are weak and must be dependent on others… you need someone stronger than yourself on whom to rely. (If you think about this, you are deliberately choosing to be weak and dependent, then feeling upset about the very dependency that you opted for, and then deciding that you are entitled and someone else is supposed to rescue you and fix your situation.)
- “That’s Just the Way I Am” – The belief that your past history is an all-important determiner of your present behavior, and because something once strongly affected your life, it must indefinitely have a similar effect. (Here you are justifying your bad habits by saying that is “just the way you are” so YOU can avoid doing anything about it.)
- “If You’re Upset, I Must Be Too” – The belief that you must become quite upset over other people’s sorrows and disturbances. (Here you are thinking that you are unable to be happy if someone you love is unhappy, that your happiness is completely dependent on someone else’s. Really?)
- “Get the Right Answer!” – The belief that there is invariably a right, precise, and perfect solution to human problems, and it is awful and bad if you fail to arrive at this perfect solution. (Remember that life is messy and unfair. Therefore, is it reasonable to believe that everything has to have a right and perfect solution, and that something that might be merely acceptable is wrong?)
Remember that what you believe, you will prove.
Here is an example for your consideration. This is a popular belief you will notice is entirely unreasonable:
THE BELIEF THAT GOOD LOOKING AND ATTRACTIVE ARE THE SAME THING… AND, THAT IF YOU ARE LESS THAN ENTIRELY GOOD LOOKING… THEN YOU ARE UNATTRACTIVE.
“If I am not beautiful / good looking, then I am not attractive.”
Give some thought to that. Is beautiful and attractive really the same thing?
Ask yourself the following: Are there some attractive people who are less than beautiful / good looking? Of course.
Likewise, are there some beautiful / good looking people who are quite unattractive? Absolutely!
So what makes people attractive?
- Engaging and impressive
- Funny and charming
- Interested and therefore interesting
- Fascinating and thought provoking
- Cute and eccentric
- Peculiar and non-conformist nature
- Smart and educated
- Eloquent and articulate
- Worldly and forthright
- Strength of character and high standards
- Operating from strength and self-respect
- Gracious and polite
- Charitable and forgiving
- Childlike and adorable
- Politically incorrect
- Passionate and intense
- Outrageous and provocative
So what makes people beautiful and good looking?
- Great facial features
- Terrific colors and contrasting accompanying proportions
- Being healthy
- Good posture
- Being distinct
- Bright smile
- Great hair and classic features
- Fortunate genetic gifts
- Membership in the lucky sperm club
Therefore, if you look at the above, you will notice that many people who are attractive possess MANY qualities that are distinct from being good looking / beautiful.
So, ATTRACTIVE IS OFTEN QUITE DIFFERENT FROM BEING BEAUTIFUL / GOOD LOOKING.
On the other hand, if you think that you can only be attractive if you are good looking, then you are setting yourself up for a let-down.
SO, CONCLUDE THAT YOU CAN BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN BE QUITE ATTRACTIVE WITHOUT REQUIRING YOURSELF TO BE GOOD-LOOKING.
- Illuminate the Irrational Belief – Clarify it and admit it as something you have believed for a long time… acknowledge the belief as unreasonable and irrational.
- Dispute the Belief – Refuse to believe that ridiculous belief anymore.
- Replace the Belief – Rewrite the belief with a new one that is more reasonable, realistic, pragmatic and practical.
If you believe something irrational and unreasonable, you will continue to prove it in a very self-defeating manner.
When you replace your beliefs with something sane and reasonable, you will be more productive and functional.
CHANGE YOUR BELIEF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
WHAT YOU BELIEVE, YOU WILL PROVE.