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Preferences Over Should Over Musts

Preferences Are Usually Better Than Shoulds


Turn Shoulds & Musts into Preferences

“Hell, there are no rules here—we‘re trying to accomplish something.” —Thomas Edison

“When people change their irrational beliefs to undogmatic flexible preferences, they become less disturbed.” —Albert Ellis

“The truth is what is. And what should be is a fantasy—a terrible fantasy.” —Lenny Bruce

“You desire what you want, but don’t need it.” —Albert Ellis


Prefer Before You Should Before You Demand (Must)

  • I tend to make my preferences into shoulds and my shoulds into musts.
  • In other words, I then to make my desires into rules and my rules into demands.
  • Since my musts are demands and I have little power and authority, I cause myself a lot of frustration by having demands that I cannot enforce.
  • For my peace of mind, I will have more preferences than I have shoulds, and I will have more shoulds than I have musts or demands.

  • Demands and musts are great for getting work done, but only if the work can be done.

3Rs Used With Demands

  1. I will recognize my use of preferences, shoulds, and musts.
  2. I will remove my inappropriate and self-defeating uses of shoulds and musts.
  3. I will replace my failing shoulds and musts with working preferences.

More Information on the 3Rs

List of Pages on 3Rs

Book Devoted to the 3Rs

Problem Solved! 3Rs


Main Messages or Teachings

  • First, demand less.
  • Second, make less rules.
  • Third, have fewer wishes.
  • Fourth, practice more acceptance.

More Information


Quotations from Various Sources

“Each of us does, in effect, strike a series of ‘deals,’ or compromises, between the wants and longings of the inner self, and an outer environment that offers certain possibilities and sets certain limitations.” —Maggie Scarf

“For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” —I Peter 2:20

“Happy is the man who early learns the wide chasm that lies between his wishes and his powers.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.” —Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

“REBT is also a double-systems therapy in that it helps people un-upset themselves while they are still in a bad system, such as a bad family, or a bad work system, and then it helps them go back to point A, the activating events or the adversity in their lives and work out practical and problem-solving solutions to these realistic problems.” —Albert Ellis

“The truth is what is. And what should be is a fantasy…a terrible fantasy.” —Lenny Bruce

“What has always made a hell on earth is that man has tried to make it his heaven.” —Friedrich Holderlin

“When people change their irrational beliefs to undogmatic flexible preferences, they become less disturbed.” —Albert Ellis

“You desire what you want, but don’t need it.” —Albert Ellis


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