logo Kevin's website key image

“Musts” or Demands Useful?

being right is wrong

Demands Are Both a Friend & a Foe

  • Garden will teach you an easy and effective system of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT & REBT).
  • REBT practitioners update your practice for greater effectiveness and efficiency with Not.

“In all things have no preferences.” —Miyamoto Musashi

“Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.” —Margaret Mitchell

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

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


Musts are an integral part of life, for example, you must breathe to live. Musts have a survival basis. That is, your body demands air, water, food, shelter, and rest to survive. Musts are therefore crucial, necessary, and your friends.

However, musts have also been shown to be at the center of much psychological disturbance by Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

  • How is it possible for musts to be both your friend and foe?



Musts for physical survival are friends. Examples: Examples: I must breathe, drink fluids, eat food, find shelter, and obtain rest. My immune system must attack and kill intruders. My heart must beat.


Musts for physical protection are friends. Examples: I must not breathe poisonous air, drink poisonous fluids, eat poisonous food, be without necessary shelter, go without adequate rest, be in unsafe environments or situations. I must not be without medicine I need to survive.

These two types of musts are friends as they help your body and/or the bodies of those you are attached to, to survive.



Musts for physical comforts and conveniences are enemies. Examples: I must always be comfortable, find it easy to care for my body, and have my needs met quickly and conveniently.


Musts for physical discomforts and inconveniences are enemies. Examples: Musts for physical discomforts and inconveniences are enemies. Examples: I must never be uncomfortable, have to work too hard, have to wait for needs to be taken care of, or experience frustration.

These two are unfriendly musts as they lead to poor coping, poor problem-solving, unneeded stress, false expectations, irritability, quitting, failure, and anxiousness.



Musts for ego survival are enemies. Examples: I must be accepted, loved, approved, smart, worth more, effective, a member, secure, safe, successful, and superior.


Musts for ego protection are enemies. Examples: I must not be unaccepted, unloved, unapproved, stupid, worthless, defective, outcast, at risk, open to attack, threatened, insecure, failing, or inferior.

These two musts are unfriendly and hurtful as they lead to: conflicts, endless power struggles, hurt, anger, anxiety, depression, shame, pride, vendettas, jealousy, false striving, imaginary conflicts, false approval seeking.



Musts for ego comforts and conveniences are enemies. Examples: I must always be in a comfortable, nonchallenging, and non-threatening environment. People must make it easy for me to talk, relax, win friends, feel safe, feel secure, and be considered good.


Musts for ego discomforts and inconveniences are enemies. Examples: I must never be challenged, attacked, questioned, or made to feel uncomfortable in any way. I must never be challenged, attacked, questioned, criticized, or made to feel uncomfortable in any way. I must never have to work to communicate, learn, relax, find friendship, improve, or be considered good.

These two are unfriendly and hurtful musts as they lead to discomfort, anxiety, avoidance, withdrawal, taking the easy way out, lack of risk-taking, unrealistic demands on relationships, intolerance, weakness, shyness.


From the above, it is easy to see why REBT is so against musts (demandingness). REBT calls must types 3-4 discomfort anxiety and must types 5-8 ego anxiety. However, it is important to remember that not all insisting or demanding is hurtful or unproductive (must types 1-2).

For instance, in true emergencies demands can be life-saving: “I must swim to land before I drown.” The problem is that we create emergencies where none exist in order to justify our demands and thereby cause needless stress, anxiety, and conflict for ourselves and others.

Whatever you frame as a survival issue, you will make demands about. Whenever your ego is at risk, is threatened, you will make demands to ensure the survival of your ego. Therefore, stop putting your self (ego) at risk. Your self (authentic) is never really at risk. No matter what anyone says or judges, your self will remain the same, untouched, and unaffected.

Related Pages

  1. 5 Thinking Positions
  2. 4 Ways “Musts” or Demands Cause Stress
  3. Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT): List of Pages
  4. REBT & 4 Kinds of Demands
  5. REBT Is Deeper than CBT, CT, & Other Counseling Theories
  6. REBT’s 11 Irrational Beliefs
  7. REBT’s ABCs of Emotions

Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“A fool is only a fool because he won’t see he is a fool.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” —James Joyce 

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” —Hebrews 12:8 

“By honestly acknowledging your past errors, but never damning yourself for them, you can learn to use your past for your own future benefit.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 194 

“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” —Proverbs 15:5 

“Failure doesn’t have anything to do with your intrinsic value as a person.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 206 

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” —Hebrews 12:6 

“If we eliminated all errors, we would also eliminate much discovery, art, insight, learning, and creativity that results from facing errors.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice 

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” —Hebrews 12:7 

“In all things have no preferences.” —Miyamoto Musashi 

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:” —Proverbs 3:11 

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” —Vince Lombardi 

“The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart.” —Julien Green 

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” —Norman Vincent Peale 

“When receiving correction, the wise seeks to learn and the fool seeks to justify with excuses.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

Quotations from Scripture on Counseling

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” —Proverbs 1:5 

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” —Proverbs 11:14 

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” —Proverbs 12:15 

“Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counselors of peace is joy.” —Proverbs 12:20 

“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” —Proverbs 15:22 

“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” —Proverbs 19:20 

“Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.” —Proverbs 20:18 

“Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.” —Isaiah 16:3 

“Extol not thyself in the counsel of thine own heart; that thy soul be not torn in pieces as a bull [straying alone.]” —Ecclesiasticus 6:2 

“As timber girt and bound together in a building cannot be loosed with shaking: so the heart that is stablished by advised counsel shall fear at no time.” —Ecclesiasticus 22:16 

“Give not over thy mind to heaviness, and afflict not thyself in thine own counsel.” —Ecclesiasticus 30:21 

“A man of counsel will be considerate; but a strange and proud man is not daunted with fear, even when of himself he hath done without counsel.” —Ecclesiasticus 32:18 

“And let the counsel of thine own heart stand: for there is no man more faithful unto thee than it.” —Ecclesiasticus 37:13 

“Let reason go before every enterprize, and counsel before every action.” —Ecclesiasticus 38:33 

“Gold and silver make the foot stand sure: but counsel is esteemed above them both.” —Ecclesiasticus 40:25