This past week, I learned about Albert Ellis’ 11 Irrational Beliefs that lead to dysfunctional behavior. For those of you who do not know who Albert Ellis is or what these 11 irrational beliefs are, I have included a short summary.
Albert Ellis is the creator of Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in which he focuses on “individuals having strong inborn tendencies to think irrationally which creates states of poor mental health within themselves.” These beliefs that one has, not the events themselves, is what causes one to become upset, depressed, anxious etc. The 11 irrational beliefs Ellis came up with, which are deliberately extreme, are what lead to unhappiness and neurosis. I have listed the 11 irrational beliefs listed below – These highlight how our choices and thoughts are often due to pessimistically generalizing things, in which we create stereotypes about situations.
- I must be loved by everyone or I am not lovable.
- I must do everything well or I am not competent.
- I must damn others if they do not treat me well.
- I must damn life if things do not go well.
- I must control events and people because they control how I feel.
- I must worry about anything fearful or risky.
- I must avoid responsibilities and problems in order to be comfortable or content.
- I must depend on others else my life or self will fall apart.
- I must forever be controlled by my past, and I must continue to be strongly affected by anything that once strongly affected me.
- I must damn other’s problems and be disturbed by them
- I must damn life if I cannot find the perfect answers to human problems.
As you read over these 11 beliefs, you may find that you have had a few or even all of them at times in your life. For me, I identified most with the first one – Needing to be loved by everyone or not being lovable. Many of us may find that we often seek to please everyone around us, without worrying about pleasing ourselves, and this ends up causing us to forget about our needs & leading to our possible unhappiness.
In speaking for myself, I have realized that when I strive to please others, rather than myself, I often conform my personality, behaviors and beliefs in order to be approved or accepted by the person(s) that I are in contact with. But as I look at this tendency, I realize that I am loosing who I am in the process and giving up my standards of who I feel should be around me. I am so concerned that someone may not like me, that I almost, in a sense, stop liking myself. Now, I do still like who I am, but when I change myself to fit another person, I lose my authenticity and what makes me me. A client of Cindy’s recently asked for literature pertaining to not caring what other’s think and stop trying to make people like you. As I searched the internet and our office’s favorite websites, I stumbled upon a list of “10 Reasons to be Okay with Being Disliked.”
This article spoke wonders to me, as I began to realize that all of these reasons explained why I was so afraid of being disliked. My favorite from the 10 reasons was #5 – You can freely express your thoughts “let your words be kind but fearless.” I always have a hard time expressing my thoughts because I am concerned with how others will take it and whether or not they will agree or disagree. I am a people person and people pleaser – I always try to be friends with everyone and worry about anyone who may not like me, and if someone does not like me, I want to prove them wrong! But this isn’t healthy nor is it helping me get anywhere that I want to go or achieve my dreams. Now, of course you can’t act in a way that causes everyone to dislike you, but worrying about those people who really shouldn’t and won’t have an impact on your life can leaving you stuck and unhappy. We think that having other people like us will make us happy, but that isn’t what makes us happy. Being ourselves, doing what we want (within reason), and focusing on ourselves and the goals we have set for our lives is the key to happiness.
When doing a google search for “not caring if others like you,” many articles may come up, but I found 2 that I really connected with. The first being “3 habits that keep you anxious and unhappy,” and #3 was caring about the opinions of others. The author then went on to describing the affects this habit can have on us – “we begin to lose sight of our own identity. We start following the path other people expect us to travel, completely negating our true purpose, uniqueness and happiness.” Does this sound familiar to you? This irrational belief that we need everyone around us to love us or suddenly we are not lovable or worth much, is truly hurting us more than we may want to admit or expected. The other article I found was “The Gorgeous Reality of Not Being Well-Liked by Everyone.” This one is a bit longer than the other 2 articles I have included in this blog, however, it is a great read that touches on why pleasing others hinders your growth and the 5 ways on “How to Stop Caring So Much About Others’ Opinions.”
- Stop Playing the Critic
- Take Minor Social Risks
- Live by Your Deeper Values
- Focus on Actual Outcomes
- Love Your Good and Bad
My hope is that all of us to take a lesson. We all need to no longer focus on making others like or love us, and rather, focus on being true to ourselves and our purpose here in life. I leave you with this quote by Deepak Chopra, “In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” Now is the time to let go of your need to be loved and approved by all, and start living for yourself.
Are you struggling with your need to please others and not focusing on making fulfilling your own needs? If you would like some help on making yourself your top priority, please visit us at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando, or call us at 407-355-7378 to set up a free phone consultation. Our Orlando Mental Health Counselors or Orlando Life Coaches would be happy to help you start this journey. If you believe your needs are being put last within your family or your relationship, as that can often happen, our Orlando Family Therapist, Orlando Couples Counselors, and Orlando Marriage Counselors would be happy to sit down with you and your family and come to a middle ground.
Remember, the secret to a good, long life is putting yourself first. -Sabina