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  • Sugimoto Shoujin

Learning To Identify Your Unhelpful Beliefs

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

How do you perceive yourself in the mirror? How do you perceive the world? In our daily lives, the way we see things is usually not the way things actually are.

Each unique individual holds different beliefs and views the same events from varying perspectives. Our beliefs have been influenced by our upbringing, our parents’ and friends’ beliefs, what we have been taught and our life experiences and our interpretation of them.

While some beliefs serve us and help us to operate effectively in our day-to-day lives, some beliefs lead to unhealthy actions and emotions. Thus, it is a wise decision to start questioning and modifying the beliefs that do not serve us well in life.

How do beliefs affect our emotions and actions?

Based on the well-regarded ABC Model in Psychology,

  1. We experience an Activating Life Event (experiences, conversations, interactions etc)

  2. We form an opinion about the event based on our Beliefs

  3. We experience Consequences such as emotions, decisions, actions etc

Albert Ellis’s Irrational Beliefs (Part 1)

Albert Ellis is one of the world’s best regarded psychologists who founded the famous Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT).

He defines Irrational Beliefs as the beliefs that lead to unhealthy emotions and are illogical, distorts reality and lead to self-defeating behaviour that prevents us from reaching our goals.

Irrational Belief No. 1 - We have to be liked/loved by everybody

  1. It is impossible for everybody to like us, as everybody has different preferences.

  2. We cannot control how other people think, and thus it is out of our control. What we can do is to focus our attention towards things that can be controlled instead.

  3. It prevents you from being your true authentic self. You will behave in a people-pleasing manner and you will start living for others instead of for yourself. Being yourself will attract people who like you for who you truly are, which leads to meaningful relationships.

  4. It prevents you from accepting yourself unconditionally. Self-acceptance is crucial in managing your expectations and for self-love. It helps you understand that you are good enough.

Irrational Belief No. 2 - We have to be good at everything

  1. Nobody can be good at everything, and we are forming unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Disappointment happens when we are not able to reach our expectations. Set realistic expectations (SMART Goals) for yourself.

  2. Tying our self-worth to how well we do is especially dangerous. We feel less of a person when we do not meet our expectations, and it prevents unconditional self-acceptance. We will find it hard to accept other people for their flaws as well.

Irrational Belief No. 3 - Bad things are done to you and

there is nothing you can do about it

  1. If you believe that the outcomes you are getting in life (eg. your emotions, results, attitude) are all externally caused, then you are not giving yourself any control over your life.

  2. You are operating in a victim mindset, whereby things are done unto you which leaves you disempowered and with negative consequences.

  3. If you treat every experience as neutral, you give yourself the option to decide what to interpret from them. Most of our emotions are caused by the beliefs that we choose to have and what we decide to tell ourselves.

“Between Stimulus and Response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom.” - Viktor Frankl

Other Irrational Beliefs:

4) Things are supposed to happen the way I want them to happen, if not it is a bad thing.

5) People whom I perceive to be bad should be punished

6) I should avoid life’s difficulties and take the easy way out to live a pleasant life.

7) My past defines and dictates me, and there is nothing I can do about it.

8) I should be dependent and rely on someone to be happy.

All in all, it is good and normal to have the desire to achieve healthy ideals, to be loved etc. However, it is destructive to need to achieve those ideals.

Done By: Sugimoto Shoujin

Edited By: Tan Hui Ling

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