REBT Helps You to Cope by Stopping Awfulizing
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“I suggest that people take the challenge and adventure of creating and maintaining a profound attitude of unconditionally accepting themselves, other people, and world frustrations, no matter what occurs in life. They better make it an integral, unforgettable part of their living.” —Albert Ellis
Awful, Horrible, Terrible
“How does it help to make troubles heavier by bemoaning them?” –Seneca
When we label an event as awful, horrible, or terrible, then we subconsciously think that event is absolutely awful, horrible, or terrible.
When we think something is awful, horrible, or terrible, then we judge it and take pride in knowing better than it (what it should and should not be).
This pride in knowing-better is the drug of ego. Ego is addicted to this pride, and like addicts addicted to heroin, the ego is willing to sacrifice career, family, friends, health, and almost anything to obtain a fix from using heroin (pride) again.
Reduce Awfulizing (Telling yourself that something is awful.)
When you reduce the awful event in your mind to a negative event, then you will not have the compulsion to judge it and keep it in your mind for the sake of your ego.
When you keep judging the awful event as awful, you keep re-experiencing and reliving a part of it in your thoughts. This repetition reinforces and maintains your feelings about it, including your feelings of superiority regarding the existence of the problem.
A strategy that REBT offers to accept the awful event is to stop calling it awful. To do this, you can factually tell yourself that it was not 100% awful because it could have been more awful than it was.
The point of this argument is not to diminish the event, but to diminish your ruminating on it and repeating negative thoughts about it that will keep you upset and not living or performing at your best.
Accept & Let Go
To let it go, you need to accept it. Moreover, to accept it, you need to see it as negative and not awful. If something is awful, you trigger your survival responses to it because awful events are dangerous and often life-threatening.
“My formula for human greatness is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past, not for all eternity. Not only to endure what is necessary, still less to conceal it—all idealism is falseness in the face of necessity—, but to love it…” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo
“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. Moreover, all in all, and on the whole: someday I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
“Amor fati: this is the very core of my being—And as to my prolonged illness, do I not owe much more to it than I owe to my health? To it, I owe a higher kind of health, a sort of health which grows stronger under everything that does not actually kill it!—To it, I owe even my philosophy. Only great suffering is the ultimate emancipator of spirit, for it teaches one that vast suspiciousness which makes an X out of every U, a genuine and proper X, i.e., the antepenultimate letter. Only great suffering; that great suffering, under which we seem to be over a fire of greenwood, the suffering that takes its time—forces us philosophers to descend into our nethermost depths, and to let go of all trustfulness, all good-nature, all whittling-down, all mildness, all mediocrity,—on which things we had formerly staked our humanity.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche
Related Information on REBT & Thinking Errors
- 7 Thinking Errors of CT
- 9 Fundamental Thinking Errors
- Albert Ellis: “New Yorker” Article
- Albert Ellis on FitzMaurice’s Books
- Article on FitzMaurice’s Contributions to CBT & REBT
- CBT, CT, & REBT Cognitive Psychotherapies: List of Pages
- Cognitive Psychotherapy Quotations
- Musts: Friend & Foe
- REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy): List of Pages
- REBT Is Deeper than CBT, CT, & other Counseling Theories
- REBT Video Demonstrations Online
- REBT Website (www.albertellisinstitute.org)
- REBT Websites for Information & Books: List of Links
- REBT’s 4 Issues As a System
- REBT’s 10 Must Scripts for Life
- REBT’s ABCs of Emotions