Here’s a list adapted from the work of Albert Ellis, Ph.D., founder of Rational Emotive Behavior therapy. Known as the forerunner of cognitive behavior therapy, Ellis has compiled a list of the most common irrational thinking that leads to the most universal forms of human upset:
- The idea that it is a dire necessity for adults to be loved by significant others for nearly everything they do instead of their concentrating on their own self-respect, and on loving rather than on being loved.
- 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 anti-social and that people’s poor behaviors do not make them bad individuals.
- The idea that it’s horrible when things are not the way we like them to be instead of the idea that it’s unfortunate and if it’s not possible to change the situation, we should temporarily accept their existence.
- The idea that human misery is invariably externally caused and is forced on us by outside people and events instead of the idea that our upset is caused by the view we take of unfortunate conditions.
- The idea that if something is or may be dangerous or fearsome we should be terribly upset instead of the idea that we should face it and accept the inevitable.
- The idea that it is easier to avoid than to face life’s difficulties and self-responsibilities instead of the idea that the so-called “easy way” is usually much harder in the long run.
- The idea that we absolutely need something other, stronger or greater than yourself to rely on instead of the idea that it’s better to take the risks of thinking and acting independently.
- The idea that we should be thoroughly competent, intelligent and achieving in all possible respects instead of the idea that we should accept ourselves as imperfect creatures with general human limitations and specific fallibilities.
- 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.
- The idea that we must have certain and perfect control over things instead of the idea that the world is full of probability and chance, and despite this we can still enjoy life.